By Andy Smetana, Joe Bailey and Teri Lindquist

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury), on June 22, 2020, issued new guidance in their interim final rule #20 with respect to the terms of and process for applying for loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This new guidance modifies prior rulemaking based on the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 enacted on June 5, 2020 (Flexibility Act) and the new “EZ” form of loan forgiveness application released by the SBA on June 16, 2020. (For our earlier updates on the Flexibility Act and the EZ form, see here and here.) Interim final rule #20 also creates a new limit for business owners and expands a safe harbor created under the Flexibility Act for borrowers who have not been able to restore their prior business activity due to certain government orders related to COVID-19. Highlights from interim final rule #20 are as follows:
Continue Reading New Guidance Provides Clarification for the PPP Loan Forgiveness Process

On June 18, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order manding that people in California wear face coverings in “high-risk” situations. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a guidance document that updates existing guidance regarding the use of cloth face coverings by the public when outside the home. Under the new mandate, individuals in California must wear face coverings in the following “high-risk” situations, as provided in the updated CDPH guidance:
Continue Reading California Mandates Masks as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

On June 17, 2020, Governor Ducey announced an enhanced COVID-19 Action Plan that includes an executive order providing that the Arizona Department of Health Services shall implement a system for contact tracing. The order also provides that a county, city, or town may, based on conditions in its jurisdiction, adopt policies regarding the wearing of face coverings in public for the purpose of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Continue Reading Arizona Issues Further Plan re COVID-19, Including Requirements for Businesses to Address Face Coverings and Symptom Screenings

By Andy Smetana and Teri Lindquist

In response to the recent enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (the PPPFA), on June 11, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released an interim final rule (interim final rule #17) adopting changes to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan terms mandated by the PPPFA. In doing so, the SBA modified the SBA’s initial interim final rule to provide clarifications for PPP borrowers. Also on June 11, the SBA released a new form of PPP loan application that incorporates changes specified in the PPPFA and interim final rule #17.

For those who have been closely watching developments with respect to PPP loans, these materials provide little in the way of new information but do include a couple of clarifications that borrowers may find helpful—specifically providing that the new “60% Rule” for loan use and forgiveness results in proportionate reductions to loan forgiveness, and not a “cliff” (i.e., a barrier to any loan forgiveness). The clarification keeps hope alive that interest on PPP loans may be subject to forgiveness.

Continue Reading SBA Issues Updated PPP Guidance and a New PPP Loan Application Form

As countries around the world overcome the first wave of coronavirus infections, one thing is becoming apparent: Remote working will almost certainly become a permanent fixture of modern life for many. Going forward, governments and companies may periodically require or encourage employees to work from home. And even when they do not, both employees and employers are more comfortable with work-from-home arrangements than ever before.

Continue Reading Maintaining an Effective Compliance Program When Working Remotely

By Andy Smetana, Joe Bailey, Wendy Moore and Teri Lindquist

The U.S. Senate, on June 3, 2020, approved H.R. 7010, referred to as the “Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020.” This advances to the president legislation that was previously approved with nearly unanimous support in the U.S. House of Representatives. If signed into law, this legislation would extend the so-called “covered period” for borrowers to spend loan proceeds received under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and qualify for forgiveness. This legislation would also make other significant changes to the terms of PPP loans, many of which are now at the end of their original eight-week covered period. Some initial questions and answers based on this legislation are provided below:

  1. Does the new legislation automatically extend the covered period for all PPP borrowers?

No, the legislation provides that borrowers who received their PPP loan before the new legislation is enacted will be able to elect between their original eight-week covered period or the new covered period that ends on the earlier of 24 weeks after their loan was originated or December 31, 2020. New PPP loan borrowers would automatically have the extended covered period. Note, however, that the legislation does not increase the per person cap on permitted payroll costs, meaning that no more than $15,385 in direct cash compensation paid per employee will qualify for forgiveness.

It is unclear how this legislation would affect the “alternative payroll covered period” authorized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in recent rulemaking and the PPP loan forgiveness application form. For more information on these topics, see our earlier update.

Continue Reading Legislation Approved to Extend the Covered Period for PPP Loan Forgiveness and Make Other Significant Changes

In light of states beginning to reopen and more employees returning to the workplace, the CDC has created a webpage called “COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings,” which provides guidance to employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists on how to safely reopen office buildings. The CDC recommends that employers do

On May 19, 2020, the Long Beach (California) City Council adopted the COVID-19 Paid Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Emergency Ordinance.  The ordinance is effective immediately and applies to businesses with 500 or more employees nationally and was described by the city council as a measure to “fill the gap” left by the federal Families

Going into what would be a long holiday weekend in any other year, California restaurants have new reopening guidance to consider as restrictions begin to loosen statewide.

This week California Gov. Gavin Newsom loosened the requirements for counties to reopen additional businesses, including dine-in restaurants, as part of Stage 2B of California’s resilience plan.  The Reliance Roadmap is found here and includes statewide industry guidance to reduce risk.  Under the updated guidelines, counties can broaden reopening moving forward if: (1) hospitalization and test positivity rates are stable or declining; (2) they have a significant level of preparedness with testing, contact tracing, PPE, and hospital surge; and (3) they have adequate plans related to county-wide containment.  The original statistical metrics set for each of these conditions have been slightly relaxed, allowing more counties to enter Stage2B, which includes reopening dine-in restaurants with certain precautions.

Continue Reading As Summer Begins, The CA Restaurant Industry Weighs Reopening Its Doors

By Joe Bailey, Teri A. Lindquist, Wendy L. Moore, Andrew (Andy) Smetana and Sean M. Apfelbaum

After putting much emphasis on eligibility requirements for PPP loans, the SBA has now turned its attention to the requirements for loan forgiveness.  On Friday night, the SBA released a PPP loan forgiveness application. The application