Many ARA members have asked if there are “transit” letters for employees going to and from their “essential” businesses in the case of a state or locality stay-at-home or other business shutdown mandate. ARA was on a call yesterday with a representative of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) discussing the “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.” While automotive recyclers fit within their definitions of essential workforce under the terms “automotive repair and maintenance facilities” and “employees who repair and maintain vehicles”, the document is only a guidance. States and in some instances, localities determine which businesses are essential and can remain open. But please remember that things are changing on an hourly basis and we are tracking as fast as we can all changes.
On the questions of a transit letter, during yesterday’s call with CISA, a question was asked about documentation for workers going to and from essential businesses. The CISA staff said that they were “working through that as we speak”. He suggested that they might provide a templet for a letter but there are so many issues that they are working out and promised “more to come” on that issue. There is confusion over this especially because a “federal” letter wouldn’t replace a state letter. Many business groups are exploring how to make this work and have asked states to provide more clarity. Please find a draft template for your employees to carry with them to and from work if you are in a state or locality that has a work stoppage order or “stay at home” order in place. They should also carry business cards if they have them or another form of identification. The letter should be put on your letterhead and you can enter your specific business and employee information in the yellow highlighted parts. Employees have been stopped going to and from their jobs across the country. Click for sample letter.
There is still no deal in the U.S. Senate on a third coronavirus relief bill amongst much partisan rancor. Senate Democrats have held up passage with demands for less “slush funding” and have also tied issues to their demands that are not directly related to the current pandemic. A successful vote is still expected today, being brokered by the Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Stay tuned.
For small businesses that might need credit during this turbulent health and financial crisis, the Small Business Administration (SBA) “is looking at every option and taking every action to cut red tape to make it easier for small business to stay in business.” The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) can give a business up to $2 million. According to EIDL, “These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. ... The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses.” SBA also allows small businesses to spread out the loan over as long as 30 years dependent on a case-by-case basis. To apply: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
In addition, the Federal Reserve announced that they are establishing programs using the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) possibly allowing small and large businesses “to tap new credit.”
Find More Resources at https://www.a-r-a.org/covid-19-resources
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