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ACEC News / Coronavirus

March 30, 2020

ACEC Coronavirus Resource Center

ACEC Coronavirus Resource Center

Note: The ACEC Coronavirus Resource Center will be updated regularly with new information.  We recommend bookmarking this page on your browser.

 

Looking Ahead: How Will COVID-19 Change the World?

Access the results of the ACEC COVID-19 Business Impact Survey - Wave 3

The Main Street Lending Program will enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year. Eligible banks may originate new Main Street loans or use Main Street loans to increase the size of existing loans to businesses. Banks will retain a 5 percent share, selling the remaining 95 percent to the Main Street facility, which will purchase up to $600 billion of loans. Firms seeking Main Street loans must commit to make reasonable efforts to maintain payroll and retain workers. Borrowers must also follow compensation, stock repurchase, and dividend restrictions that apply to direct loan programs under the CARES Act. Firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street loans. Click here for more information.

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

For more information and updates, visit Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection.

Treasury released initial guidance to implement the new small firm lending program in the CARES Act. Additional information on the program can be found here.

The Senate Small Business Committee has put together an excellent summary of small business lending options in the CARES Act Senate Small Business Committee.

The House passed the CARES Act by Unanimous Consent on 3/27/20. The bill now goes to the president for his signature.  ACEC's advocacy team released the following summary of the bill:

Small Business Program Overview

The new law establishes a Paycheck Protection Program to assist qualifying small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program.  $349 billion is authorized for 7(a) lending from Feb. 15 through June 30, and SBA would fully guarantee the loans.  Loans would be available during the covered period for:

  • Any business, nonprofit, veterans group, or tribal business with 500 or fewer employees, or a number set by the SBA for the relevant industry. ACEC is seeking clarification on this point – whether SBA will implement the loan program using the traditional size standard for engineering, or something broader.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed workers would be eligible.

Eligible recipients could receive loans up to $10 million or 250% of their average monthly payroll costs, instead of $5 million, with interest rates capped during the covered period at 4%.  Loans can be used to cover eligible payroll costs -- salaries, commissions, regular paid leave, and health-care benefits -- as well as mortgage interest and utility payments. Firms would be required to make a “good faith certification” that funds will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and pay for rent and similar expenses.  Funds cannot be used to compensate individual employees at an annual rate above $100,000, or to pay for emergency sick or family leave under the second coronavirus response package.

Loan Forgiveness – key elements

  • Recipients of SBA-guaranteed loans under the Paycheck Protection Program can apply for loan forgiveness over eight weeks for eligible payroll costs and for mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments -- SBA would pay lenders for any canceled debt plus accrued interest. 
  • Loan forgiveness would be reduced for businesses that fire employees or cut their pay.
  • Canceled debt would be excluded from borrowers’ gross income for tax purposes.
  • The measure also would authorize and provide $17 billion for the SBA to pay the principal, interest, and associated fees for loans under the 7(a)504, and microloan programs for six months.

Disaster Loans

The package provides $10 billion to expand the SBA’s disaster loan program from Jan. 31 through Dec. 31 to cover businesses, cooperatives, employee stock ownership plans, and tribal businesses with 500 or fewer employees, as well as sole proprietors and independent contractors.  The measure also authorizes SBA to advance up to $10,000 to existing and newly eligible disaster loan recipients within three days of receiving their applications. Recipients could use the advance funds to pay sick leave to employees affected by Covid-19, retain employees, address interrupted supply chains, make rent or mortgage payments, and repay debt. They wouldn’t have to repay the advance funds.

Treasury and the Federal Reserve announced a new lending program for small and mid-sized businesses, with additional details here.

The IRS released Rev. Proc. 2020-23 to allow partnerships to file amended returns for 2018 and 2019 in order to claim retroactive tax relief under the CARES Act.

Treasury released initial guidance to implement the new small firm lending program in the CARES Act. Additional information on the program can be found here.

Treasury provided initial information on the Paycheck Protection Program loans for small firms that are part of the CARES Act.

IRS Notice 2020-22 provides relief for employers from penalties for failure to deposit employment taxes in connection with the payroll tax provisions in the FFCRA and the CARES Act.

The IRS has released guidance on the payroll tax credits connected to the FFCRA emergency paid leave, and Form 7200 for advance payment of these tax credits.

Treasury and the IRS released guidance on how employers may qualify for the employee retention tax credit in the CARES Act.  The tax credit is available to employers whose business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19, or if the employer’s gross receipts are below 50 percent of the comparable quarter in 2019. 

The IRS issued a set of FAQs about its Notice 2020-18 that delayed tax filing and payments for 2019 taxes until July 15, 2020.

IRS, Treasury, and Labor announce informal guidance on implementing the paid leave provisions in H.R. 6201 in this press release.

DOL issued a temporary rule to implement the emergency paid leave provisions in the FFCRA.

Fact sheet on COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Fact sheet on COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Required poster on emergency paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA:)

  • Employee rights poster.
  • Q&A on the poster.

The Department of Labor issued a field assistance bulletin regarding a temporary non-enforcement period related to the emergency paid leave provisions in the FFCRA.

The Department of Labor released new guidance explaining the emergency paid leave and paid sick leave under HR 6201.

Resources Available for Connecting Industry Capabilities to Requirements in Support of COVID-19 Response.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to host a webinar on April 9 updating its COVID-19 Response.

This DOD Office of Industrial Policy webpage provides resources for companies and other stakeholders as they navigate the complexities associated with the virus.

DOD's Managing Defense Contracts Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus memorandum provides general guidance on alternatives available to address performance-related issues resulting from COVID-

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consolidated information to states and federal entities related to COVID-19 hospital construction.

The Department of Defense provided this memorandum to industry associations to describe how they are providing military and federal civilian employees exemptions to carry out their mission essential functions.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) sent a memorandum to its contractors on how to stay protected and to work together to meet project goals.

DOD memo released: Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce    

US Army Corps of Engineers Commander LTG Todd Semonite has laid out the Corps' road ahead for retrofitting buildings into medical facilities. Watch: https://youtu.be/csfCKuy5HH8 

The DHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has released an Advisory Memorandum On Identification Of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response.

The National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) is FEMA's virtual clearinghouse for two-way information sharing between public and private sector stakeholders to help people before, during, and after disasters. The NBEOC offers a platform to share information on impacts, operating status, and recovery challenges, as well as access to information to support business continuity decisions, and integration into planning, training, and exercises.

Emergency Support Function #3 is structured to provide public works and engineering-related support for the changing requirements of domestic incident management to include preparedness, response, and recovery actions.

Emergency Support Function #14 is designed to align and support cross-sector operations among infrastructure owners and operators, businesses, and government partners to stabilize community lifelines, as well as any impacted National Critical Functions.

FEMA released a memorandum on Emergency Support Function #14, which is designed to align and support cross-sector operations among infrastructure owners and operators, businesses, and government partners to stabilize community lifelines, as well as any impacted National Critical Functions.

Here is the link to the Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) National Business Emergency Operations Center.

Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency released guidance on the identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response. Read it here (released on 3/19/20)

The Office of Management and Budget released a memorandum that identifies steps to help ensure contractor safety while maintaining continued contract performance in support of agency missions.

The full bill text of the CARES Act, which passed the Senate on 3/25/20 is available here. To read a section by section analysis of the Act, click here. And click here to view the Senate Appropriations Committee's supplemental summary.

ACEC’s advocacy team put together a summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, S 3548), economic stimulus legislation introduced by Senate Majority Leader McConnell

Engineering and design community letter seeking further clarification to Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidelines.

Water infrastructure stakeholders letter in support of drinking water and wastewater funding

ACEC letter to Senate Leaders McConnell and Schumer to retain the business tax provisions in the third coronavirus response bill.

ACEC Coalition letter asserting engineering services as essential

Editorial urging state and local governments to keep engineers working on infrastructure projects that are in design and underway.

ACEC letter to congressional leaders asking for a delay in tax filing and other key ways to help employers keep people on the payroll.

Transportation Construction Coalition letter in support of long-term transportation funding in economic relief bill.

Engineering and construction group letter urging Congress to include a $10 billion immediate infusion for airports.

Industry letter calling on Congress to support Government Contractors Unable to Access Federal Facilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

ACEC letter to the Senate expressing concerns about unintended impacts of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) on small engineering firms

ACEC state-by-state spreadsheet of current status of construction projects. . 

Washington D.C. is offering $25,000 micro-grants to eligible non-profits. The application deadline is 6:00 pm on March 31.

South Carolina DOT has issued a joint workforce safety plan in collaboration with ACEC of South Carolina, FHWA, and other construction stakeholders.

Multistate Associates has launched a webpage with a comprehensive list of state and local government responses to COVID-19/coronavirus.

The National Governors' Association website offers regularly updated information about how the states are dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Interpretive Guidance on MD Executive Order 20-03-23-01

ACEC's SVP for Advocacy, Steve Hall, and Katharine Mottley, VP for Tax and Regulatory Affairs discussed the new guidance for small businesses stemming from the enactment of the CARES Act.

Anirban Basu, president and CEO of Sage Policy Group, shared his outlook on the economy in light of the coronavirus.

ACEC's Steve Hall recapped the week's events in Washington on the Engineering Influence podcast.

Coming Soon!

The ACEC advocacy team updated members on the Senate CARES Act over the weekend. That legislative analysis can be found here

ACEC's advocacy team updated details about the family/sick leave assistance to employers provisions in H.R. 6201. Read the update here

Third ACEC Member SurveyOn March 31 and April 1, ACEC surveyed 610 members firms about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting their firms.
The survey report includes an executive summary that highlights not only important significant results but also calls out differences in these results by firm size.
Key highlights:

  • 9 out of 10 firms feel the economy at all levels is worse today than it was 30 days ago.
  • 54% feel their firm’s finances and cash flow (58%) are worse today.
  • 8 out of 10 firms feel the economy at all levels will be even worse 30 days from now. 68% feel their firm’s finances and cash flow (72%) will be even worse 30 days from now.
  • Nearly 50% of firms feel the economy will improve six months from now, about 1 out of 4 think it will continue to get worse.
  • While many firms have already taken actions in the past 30 days to shore up their finances, even more expect to do so in the coming 30 days. Actions topping the list include hiring freezes and freezing non-essential purchases.
  • 51% indicate the federal
  • stimulus package passed last week will have a positive impact on their firm, nearly one-third (32%) are not sure yet.

ACEC Completes Second Member Survey: On March 24-25, 738 member firms responded to ACEC's second survey on the impact of the coronavirus emergency on the engineering industry. Key results compared to the first survey were: More firms (79%, up from 71%) are restricting domestic travel; more firms ( 93%, up from 80%) have implemented a telework policy; social distancing (84%, up from 77%) and virtual work (84%, up from 73%) are the top work continuation methods; and there were big jumps in the number of firms reporting delays in RFP/RFQ awards (40%, up from 24%) and reporting project delays or cancellations due to COVID-19 (58%, up from 44%). Responding to new questions in the second survey, 87 percent of firms have not received any assistance from creditors, 47 percent believe Congress should delay payment of firms’ share of Social Security payroll taxes, and 44 percent favor increasing interest deductibility for businesses. Other suggested steps that Congress could take to ease cash flow challenges include no-interest loans, grants to cover payroll, tax credits and deductions, and direct payments/unemployment to employees.  Click here to read the complete survey report. 

Click here to download the survey report.

Notes From the Small, Medium and Large Roundtables Released: More than 450 members participated in three roundtables on Monday. Click here to read the notes from the roundtable events

ACEC Releases Results from Member Survey:Last week, ACEC surveyed its member firms on a number of questions about how the engineering industry is responding to the coronavirus emergency.  794 firms responded and the regional breakdown of that survey’s results can be found here.

ACEC announces the "Coronavirus Impact Forum," a new ACEC online community.  Register for the community to join the conversation here.  

Greyling Brief: Navigating State Restrictions and Limitations on Business Activity

Greyling Report on Insurance Coverage Issues Related to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coming Soon!

15 Days to Slow the Spread

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Twitter (here)
Facebook (here)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Twitter (here)
Facebook (here)

What you should know:

Workplace, School, and Home Guidance
People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19
How COVID-19 Spreads
Symptoms
Steps to Prevent Illness
Testing
Frequently Asked Questions
What to Do If You Are Sick with COVID-19
Stigma Related to COVID-19
What You Need to Know
Facts about COVID-19
Information for People at Higher Risk and Special Populations
Communication Resources

Situation Updates:

Information for Businesses:

Information for Travel and Transportation:

Information for Healthcare Providers, First Responders, and Research Facilities:

Information for Families and Households:

Information for Schools and Childcare Providers:

Information for Community Events and Gatherings:

Information for Military Response:

 


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