RISCPA/RI BUSINESS FORUM NEWS RELEASE AUGUST 24, 2020
NEWS AND UPDATES:
- FEMA approved Rhode Island’s application to provide an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits on Friday. President Trump allocated $44 billion from a Disaster Relief Fund run by FEMA for the program (Rhode Island’s own Peter Gaynor gave the approval two days after the application was received). The President issued an executive order August 8th, which initially called for $400 (states would provide $100 and Federal government $300 for a total of $400). Due to significant revenue challenges facing most states as result of COVID-19, Rhode Island will not be contributing additional funds to the program.
- According to DLT, the payments will be retroactive to week ending August 1st and are expected to last approximately three weeks.
- Governor Raimondo announced the launch of a new Education Operations Center (EOC) in partnership with the Rhode Island National Guard (the Governor thanked General Callahan and the members of the Rhode Island National Guard for “rising to the challenge over and over again”). The EOC will be staffed by members from state agencies including Rhode Island Department of Education, Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island National Guard and additional staff from Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency; it is based on EOC (Emergency Operations Center) models used by the EMA after disasters. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will partner with the EOC to coordinate a safe return to schools including both in-person and distance learning programs. The Governor said each school will have a “walk through” by a newly created body, known as the “Facilities Readiness Team”, to verify the facility is in compliance; unannounced on-site audits and visits will continue throughout the year. For more information and updates, visit Back2SchoolRI.com.
- Governor Raimondo said she will make additional announcements regarding the return to school on Monday, August 31st. She also said that private schools will be provided with the same testing, contact tracing and investigation supports the Administration is providing to public schools. She also announced private schools may open prior to September 14th if they in compliance, but all must wait for her announcements next week before moving forward.
- Restore RI -ROUND 2 NOW OPEN: Restore RI Grant program-Round 2 (note: updates have been made to the program): https://commerceri.com/about-us/restore-ri/. The program is targeted at small businesses that have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and provides eligible businesses with grants of up to $15,000. The Commerce team is providing assistance for anyone needing support or information on the program.
Phase 3 Guidelines: https://www.reopeningri.com/
- 2020 Small Business Administration – Rhode Island 2020 Profile – Office of Advocacy
- Upcoming SBA Trainings and Seminars
- EIDL loans still available: SBA resumed accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications on June 15 to all qualified small businesses, including U.S. agricultural businesses. While funds for the EIDL Advance are exhausted there is still plenty of funding available for the EIDL Loan program. https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
- Paycheck Protection Program: Final Lending Statistics: The Paycheck Protection Program came to an end on August 8, 2020. At that time Rhode Island small businesses have had 17,942 PPP Loans approved totaling $1,905,859,786 in funding. Nationwide, an astounding 5,212,128 loans were approved for over $525 billion.
RISCPA GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Both the House and Senate are in recess this week; the Rhode Island State House remains closed to visitors.
The Rhode Island Division of Taxation and other Security Summit partners urge tax practitioners to secure remote locations by using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect against cyber intruders. For more information, please use the following link: http://www.tax.ri.gov/Advisory/ADV_2020_34.pdf
IRS Tax Tips: Using the Tax Withholding Estimator will help taxpayers avoid surprises next year:https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-withholding-estimator
COVID-19 Rhode Island Stats:
- Total number of cases: 21,302
- New cases: 39
- People hospitalized: 80
- Total Number of Deaths: 1,035
- Total number of tests: 473,670
- Governor Raimondo announced the launch of a new initiative called Take It Outside to encourage activities and events to move outdoors. Several state agencies including RIDOH and DBR will support the effort to find ways to move activities including dining, shopping, fitness and more outside. She indicated funding will be earmarked to support the program.
- Executive Orders extended to September 4th:
- Telemedicine coverage
- Cloth face coverings must be worn in public
- State of Emergency (Disaster declaration)
- Quarantine regulations (includes newly added rules) remain in place
- Visit https://governor.ri.gov/newsroom/orders/ for a complete list of Executive Orders.
- Governor Raimondo announced a new initiative, Back to Work RI, an innovative $45M plan to train and support Rhode Islanders who have lost jobs as a result of the crisis. The initiative, which partners with businesses and other key stakeholders, is focused on getting displaced residents back to work; RISCPA is proud to partner with RI Department of Labor for this program. The program, funded through Federal CARES Act, is being launched in addition to the Restore RI and RIse Together, initiatives announced previously. For more information, visit RI DLT website: https://dlt.ri.gov/backtoworkri/
- Domestic quarantine restrictions are now in place for anyone traveling to Rhode Island from states with a 5% or greater positivity rate. Exceptions will be made for anyone who has tested negative in their home state during the past 72 hours. The list of states will be updated weekly: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/testing-positivity
- Rhode Island Small Business Development Center is hosting a series of free seminars to help small businesses with their marketing needs. For more information, please visit: https://www.risbdc.org/Events.aspx?&days=90
- IRS Nationwide Tax Forums: Seminar dates, times now available: Nationwide Tax Events
- Department of Motor Vehicle services are available online. DMV Headquarters in Cranston and Middletown locations are available by appointment only; other locations remain closed.
- DLT email for employers with employees refusing work or otherwise ineligible to receive benefits: email@example.com.