Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC last week that “shutting down the economy for a second time to combat the spread of COVID-19 isn’t a viable option.” However, as states and localities begin to reopen, some governments are hitting the pause button on reopening due to spikes in COVID-19 cases. For example, Governors in Oregon, Utah, and Tennessee are pausing reopening plans due to there being sharp spikes in COVID-19 cases. Businesses will have to remain cognizant of any local or state changes to their reopening schedules.
COVID-19 Relief Programs:
Last week, the Federal Reserve released its semi-annual report to Congress, which painted an alarming picture of small business health. The report found that a majority of small businesses are not expecting to return to normal operations within the next six months and that three-fourths of small businesses with employees had applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Federal Reserve also explained that while the PPP program proved to be extremely valuable, some industries will continue to need federal aid even after the PPP program expires. This likely increases the chances that there will be more small business aid in the next round of COVID-19 legislation from Congress.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan program. Businesses who have not already applied can apply for an EIDL grant and receive $1,000 per-employee (up to $10,000). Click here for the application page on the SBA website.
There are still funds available in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). If you have not already applied for a PPP loan, you can still apply for a loan until June 30, 2020. To find an eligible lender click here. Remember, if you are applying for a PPP loan, you will be more likely to receive funds if you apply with a regional or local bank.
Last week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the AFL-CIO, which filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration and claimed that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) must issue mandatory COVID-19 workplace safety rules. As of now, OSHA has not issued mandatory COVID-19 specific workplace protections and that the guidance OSHA has published thus far has merely been voluntary and unenforceable. This ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is consistent with past holdings that grant federal executive agencies broad discretion and deference when considering enacting or not enacting regulations.
U.S. automobile shredders are struggling due to lack of feedstock availability and low prices for shredded scrap metal. Due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, the number of vehicles on the roads in April decreased by almost 40% from April of last year. The substantial reduction in vehicle traffic due to COVID-19 has caused some shredders to operate on a limited basis because there is an inadequate supply of vehicles. According to a survey conducted by Argus Media, “inbound scrap volumes now are barely enough to cover April orders.” While April was the worst month for automobile shredders, prices for scrap metal increased slightly in May due to increased demand in part from the reopening of manufacturing by automakers.
FOR MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION, VISIT ARA's COVID-19 DASHBOARD