As ABC works with the White House and other industry groups to safely reopen the economy, ABC is also working to ensure that our construction companies are able to remain in business and receive critical assistance through this health crisis.
Helpful Hint of the Day – New ABC members-only webinar, ABC National Government Affairs Team Insights on COVID-19, announced for Monday, 4/20, 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. EDT:
Join a panel of ABC National’s general counsel and government affairs team as they discuss the latest government responses and policies related to COVID-19. Learn how ABC is fighting for ABC members and construction industry interests before federal, state and local lawmakers as the panel addresses FAQs, new policies, safety measures, loan programs and public policy debates in the COVID-19 era. Click here to register.
President Announces Guidance on Reopening U.S. Economy:
Last night, the Trump administration released its "Opening Up America Again" guidelines. The guidance says that before states and employers move to phases of reopening, they first need to see evidence of a downward trajectory of documented cases and influenza-like illnesses within a 14-day period. It also says they need to see a robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers, and the ability to treat all patients without crisis care. The document adds the recommendations are "implementable on statewide or county-by-county basis at governors' discretion."
The document also says the three-phase approach is "based on up-to-date data and readiness, mitigates risk of resurgence, and protects the most vulnerable."
In a call with the Nation’s governors yesterday, President Trump added that the work of the federal and state governments helped curb the potential death toll, which he said was at 2.2 million in the initial estimates. "Nobody has to hang their head, because you've all worked really hard and we have made the best out of a horrible situation and I'm very proud to have worked with you and we're going to continue to work together.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said his state will reopen "in phases," starting May 1. "I am an optimist and am confident that Ohioans will also live up to the challenge of doing things differently as we open back up beginning on May 1st," DeWine Tweeted.
Action Alert Calling on Congress to Provide Additional Funds to the Paycheck Protection Program:
As of 12pm EDT, 1089 ABC members have sent 3300+ messages to 94 Senators and 286 Representatives. With the SBA no longer accepting applications and PPP funding exhausted, ABC urges members to contact their U.S. lawmakers in support of a clean funding bill to authorize an additional $251 billion. Please click here to take action and urge Congress to support additional small businesses relief. ABC encourages its members to share the alert with fellow employees.
PPP Expires, Interim Funding Stuck in Limbo:
At this time, the Paycheck Protection Program is no longer accepting applications due to lack of funds. ABC National is urging Congress to support a clean funding interim bill to extend an additional $251 billion to PPP, and to further ensure that our ABC members have the resources they need to remain in business through this crisis. You can view the latest update on PPP loans disbursed here.
Additionally, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) has created an online portal for small businesses to share their story if they are unable to apply for a PPP loan now that the program has run out of funds. The portal can be accessed here. If a member company has expressed difficulty obtaining a PPP loan, please don’t hesitate to let us know at ABC National.
Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) are the only two to side with Republicans so far in moving forward with a clean funding bill. At the end of the day Thursday, President Trump said his administration was negotiating with Democrats and that he expected “something’s going to be happening."
While the bipartisan program is expected to be extended, it is a matter of timing and concerns remain about small businesses ability to make it another two or three weeks without renewed funding to the program. The Senate and the House, outside of an emergency need, are not scheduled to be back in DC until May 4th. ABC has stressed to lawmakers that PPP is a vital lifeline to our members and that additional PPP funding is needed immediately to effectively keep small businesses intact and employees on payroll.
ABC has also urged Congress to include 501(c)(6) organizations in the next phase of COVID-19 relief.
Main Street Lending Program:
The comment period for the Fed program, which is geared toward small and midsize businesses, ended April 16. The Main Street Lending Program will function more like a traditional loan, and the central bank estimates that the program, which is open to companies with as many as 10,000 employees and will be run directly through lenders, will support up to $600 billion in new loans.
ABC is also waiting for additional guidance to be issued on the program, but hopefully lending will be available by next week and the term sheet can be viewed here. The Fed has also said that firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street Lending loans. However, there are some key differences between the programs:
- The interest rates borrowers can expect to pay on Main Street loans are variable and right now range from 2.5 percent to 4 percent. The PPP loans offer a 1 percent fixed interest rate.
- The repayment term for Main Street loans is four years. PPP loans have two-year terms.
- The smallest loan amount for Main Street loans is $1 million. There's no minimum loan amount for PPP loans. There are upward limitations on both programs, however. For PPP loans, the maximum loan amount is $10 million. Main Street loan sizes vary on the basis of which Main Street Lending facility for which you apply. There are two: one for new loans and one for borrowers who have an existing loan through a given lender.
- While PPP loans may be fully or partially forgiven if companies apportion at least 75 percent of their loan proceeds to pay employees' salary, rent, and some utilities, Main Street loans may not be forgiven.
Since there's no minimum company size requirement for eligibility for Main Street loans, sole proprietors, self-employed business owners, and companies with fewer than 500 employees may apply. Businesses that are concerned with the ability to repay these loans should stay apprised of the status of the forgivable loan PPP and other small business provisions included in the CARES Act.
Another Multi-state, Regional Coalition Formed & Stay at Home Orders Extended in Three States:
Yesterday, seven states across the Midwest formed a third multi-state coalition comprised of governors from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The announcement from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the group of governors will evaluate reopening the economy based on four factors: sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations, enhanced ability to test and trace, sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence and best practices for social distancing in the workplace. With this formation of the Midwest coalition, there are officially 17 states taking steps to formally reopen the economy through a regional approach.
Statewide “Stay at Home” orders were also extended in Mississippi through April 27, Missouri through May 3 and Wisconsin through May 24. Please consult this sheet and local officials for further guidance on the operating status of construction in each jurisdiction.
Reminder – ABC Hosts COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down on April 23:
ABC is encouraging individual employers to talk directly to workers about coronavirus safe work practices and protocols on construction jobsites by hosting COVID-19 Safety Stand-downs on Thursday, April 23. Hosting a stand-down is a vital opportunity for employers and workers in construction to ensure their behavior keeps them safe and slows the spread of the virus, especially since many jurisdictions are allowing construction work to continue. Learn more here.