OSHA Considers Employer’s Good Faith Efforts When Enforcing Compliance During Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim guidance to advise compliance safety and health officers to evaluate an employer’s good faith efforts to comply with safety and health standards during the coronavirus pandemic.

Current infection control practices may limit the availability of employees, consultants, or contractors who normally provide training, auditing, equipment inspections, testing, and other essential safety and industrial hygiene services. Business closures and other restrictions may also preclude employee participation in training if trainers are unavailable and access to medical testing facilities may be limited or suspended.

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Ogletree Deakins Provides COVID-19 Resources

The following information was sent to APCA by Greg Guidry, of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. Guidry speaks at all APCA conventions and mid-year meetings and is a regular contributor to APCA's Pipeline Contractors Journal.

Due to the mountain of information in our COVID-19 Resource Center, we’ve reorganized it by topic and made it more user friendly. It contains new updates from the U.K. and Canada, as well as a summary of OSHA's New Enforcement Guidance and our regularly updated Chart Summarizing Both State & Local Closure Orders and Chart Summarizing Orders to Screen Employees for Symptoms & Provide Protective Measures.

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SBA Offers Debt Relief on Existing Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, APCA provided information on the CARES Act and the nearly $350 billion it allocated to support emergency loans to qualifying businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. The Act also includes $17 billion to subsidize existing small business loans.

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CISA Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the Version 2.0 (attached) of its Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce advisory liston March 28 to help state/local entities protect their communities while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety as well as economic and national security. APCA submitted comments on a previous version of this guidance last week. CISA noted that the list should not be considered a federal directive or standard but is intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions. It “identifies workers involved in the construction and services that are typically essential to the viability of maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, including preforming the construction who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure.”

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Trump Signs CARES Act to Rally Nation from Virus Outbreak

Today [March 27], President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the $2 trillion stimulus package that is the third phase of the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly for APCA members, the bill authorizes emergency loans to distressed businesses.

With respect to small businesses, the CARES Act

* Establishes, and provides funding for, forgivable bridge loans; and 

* Provides additional funding for grants and technical assistance.

The Act also provides funding for $1,200 tax rebates to individuals, with additional $500 payments per qualifying child. The rebate begins phasing out when incomes exceed $75,000 (or $150,000 for joint filers).

The CARES Act, through the Paycheck Protection Program, allocates almost $350 billion to support emergency loans to qualifying businesses.

Below is guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program from the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. You can learn more on the Small Business Administration website: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program.

Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses

U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

Read the detailed announcement

U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor Announce Plan to Implement Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Businesses to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus-Related Leave

March 20, 2020 - WASHINGTON, DC – Today the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

Read the detailed announcement

APCA General Manager Tim Wagner on COVID-19

I have been struggling with writing our own COVID-19 dissertation in light of the fact that you have likely received emails on the Corona Virus from every conceivable source including schools, restaurants, accountants, lawyers, airlines, hotels, and trade associations. They all say pretty much the same thing—wash your hands, keep your distance, etc. We have nothing to add to keep you safe as we’ve all been reading and watching the same things.

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