COVID-19 Update 5/22/2020


Quick Bits

  • Mechanical members, attend the Mech XChange on June 3rd, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Collision members, attend the BS Session on June 4th, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • OSHA has posted a 2-minute video on how to properly put on and take off a mask, something shops may want to share with employees (or customers) who don’t typically wear masks.
  • A COVID-19 Preparedness Plan template is available at the MN Department of Labor & Industry.
  • An interesting excerpt from a recent Lang Marketing iReport: The 2020 Virus has triggered dramatic changes in customer expectations regarding vehicle repair and how they interact with repair outlets.  This means that Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) findings attained in the past are now obsolete and new CSAT programs must be initiated by the entire vehicle service industry to measure how well they are meeting the changing expectations of consumers in this “new normal” of social distancing and unprecedented health concerns.
  • AASP-MN member and partner, CHESS, suggested the American Industrial Hygiene Association site if you’re looking for additional guidance for measures to ensure a safe workplace during the COVID-19 health crisis. This document contains guidelines for disinfecting vehicles.

    State Property Tax Payments

    As we reported in a previous update, the MN State Legislature did not act to defer the May 15 property tax payment, but many counties have done so.  The MN Chamber of Commerce reports that over 40 counties have provided a payment extension of May 15 property taxes.  If you have questions, please contact your county directly to see if they have approved an extension.


    SBA Issues PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

    On Friday, May 15th, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released a loan forgiveness application form for the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans and include: 

    • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
    • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
    • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
    • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30th
    • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

    The form and instructions can be found here

    SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.  Stay tuned…

    The PPP FAQ document was also updated on May 19th and can be found here.


    Congress Moving Separate Bills to Change PPP Loans

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation on May 21st to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but it was not acted on before the Memorial Day recess.  Rubio said there is bipartisan support for extending the current eight-week time period during which businesses must use the PPP loan money to pay employees and other expenses in order to have the loan forgiven. Rubio’s bill, which is also supported by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), would give businesses up to 16 weeks to use the loans.

    The House is scheduled to vote on similar legislation next week. The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886), introduced by Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Chip Roy (R-TX), would permit businesses receiving PPP loans to be able to use the funds for more than the eight weeks and would relax a requirement that 75 percent of the loan money be used for payroll expenses. It would also extend the period for paying back portions of the loan that aren’t forgiven beyond two years.

    This stand-alone bill is separate from the $3 trillion HEROES Act that the House passed last week, but which Senate leaders have not agreed to take up.


    OSHA Issues Revised Enforcement Guidance

    On May 19th, Federal OSHA officials issued updated interim guidance to its state and regional compliance officers.  The guidance pertains to employer requirements for recording of occupational illnesses, specifically cases of COVID-19. 

    The memo outlined the circumstances in which COVID-19 becomes a recordable illness, as well as factors to consider when determining whether an employee’s COVID-19 is work-related.  Additionally, the memo indicated that recording a COVID-19 illness does not, of itself, mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard.

    Employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related COVID-19 illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

    The new guidance can be found here.


    Note: This content and analysis is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal and financial advisors for detailed information before taking any action.



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