The Daily Rundown

SBDR: Coronavirus Update for March 17

Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.

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Photo via AP

SMB News Highlights from March 17, 2020:

  • Every American could be receiving cash within the next 2 weeks due to coronavirus outbreak
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said taxpayers can delay paying their income taxes on as much as $1 million in taxes
  • The House passed a COVID-19 aid package, and it’s waiting for the Senate
  • State governments are making it easier to file unemployment
  • Facebook announced a $100 million grant program
  • New York City is considering a shelter in place

Hello. How are you doing? Remember, this is a marathon, so don’t binge all the new content released at once!

President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin held a press conference today announcing their plan to make cash payments to Americans as part of the effort to staunch the hemorrhaging economy. While the idea originated in Congress, the White House supports the effort and indicates that they want to get money into Americans’ hands within the next 2 weeks.

Mnuchin also announced that plans are in place to allow Americans to defer tax payments. The limit is $1 million for individuals in order to include some small businesses and pass-throughs, and $10 million for corporations. A payroll tax holiday is under consideration.

On the other side of Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives last night passed a new version of the COVID-19 Aid package that includes “technical corrections.” The new version significantly altered the bill’s paid leave program, upsetting many House Democrats.

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The new version of the bill also allows the Department of Labor to issue exemptions to companies with fewer than 50 employees — a move championed by small businesses: “We think that paid sick time and family leave are pretty essential ingredients in how we’re going to be able to manage this,” said Amanda Ballantyne, the national director of small business advocacy group Main Street Alliance. “Exempting employers of 50 and fewer exempts a massive part of our workforce.”

Even so, Senate republicans have signaled that they may not pass the bill in its current form, a move which would send the package back to the House drawing board.

While many state governments are making it easier to apply for unemployment and expanding the benefit to include more workers, application websites across the country are crashing under the increased volume of applicants.

On the bright side, Facebook announced a $100 million grant program for small businesses today. The program will provide cash and credit services to 30,000 businesses across 30 countries where Facebook operates. The company will also launch a Business Resource Hub where SBOs can find tips on keeping afloat and coping during the global pandemic.

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Finally, Governor De Blasio has indicated that New Yorkers should expect the order to shelter-in-place to come soon, following the example of 7 counties in the San Francisco Bay area. But don’t worry — the parades may be cancelled but you can still make your own green beer at home.

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