The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, opened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal today — Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 — at 9 a.m. Eastern time. The PPP loan portal system will initially accept First Draw PPP loan applications from participating Corporate Finance Institutes (CFIs), which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and Microloan Intermediaries.
Please note: guidelines have changed this go-round. Loans are limited to business owners with 300 or fewer employees instead of 500. To qualify, applicants must also show a revenue reduction of 25% (gross receipts). The guidelines are clear that this reduction needs to compare the same time frame in 2020 as 2019. For example, Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2019, or the entire year of 2020 vs. 2019.
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Call it PPP federal rescue loans, Version 2.
For design and construction firms still struggling with the economic uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules of the federal Paycheck Protection Program will be clearer in its revision.
The loans are covered by a federal year-end legislative package that provides funding for a $284.6-billion second draw.
After Congress pushed through the initial $659-billion forgivable loan program in April with limited details, many construction companies grew frustrated as the guidance trolled out over the following months, including some onerous provisions, says Jimmy Christianson, vice president of government relations at Associated General Contractors of America.
But after nearly eight months of working through the program, he says the new effort will offer a lot more clarity about the application process. Click here to read the entire article.
Over the weekend, President Trump signed a massive $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill, averting a government shutdown that was due to start on Tuesday if an agreement was not reached beforehand.
The bill includes a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, which extends unemployment benefits for millions of United States workers. U.S. citizens will also receive $600 in stimulus payments. The package also contains several key benefits for construction firms. Click here to read entire article.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revealed the criteria it relies on to target employers for COVID-19 investigations along with naming those who received citations and the penalties they were assessed.
The agency also recently issued a new COVID-19 guidance for employers addressing ventilation standards they should adopt for their workspaces.
OSHA has come under intense criticism this year, particularly from labor unions, for relying on the General Duty Clause to support enforcement actions after declining to create Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The criticism also has come from politicians such as President-elect Joe Biden and Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia.
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The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released several items containing guidance related to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans—specifically for businesses planning to seek forgiveness for the loans.
In short, the IRS says that since businesses will not be taxed on the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan, if a business reasonably believes the loan will be forgiven in the future or the business qualifies for forgiveness, costs related to the loan can not be used as a tax deduction for federal taxes. If the business expects the loan to be forgiven, and the loan is not, in fact, forgiven, the business will be able to deduct the costs from its taxes.
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National Steel City Among First In Nation To Use Breakthrough Proximity Trace Technology As Part Of COVID-19 Response Protocol Rollout, an Industrial Info News Release
SUGAR LAND, Texas, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--National Steel City (NSC), one of the nation's leading self-perform Structural/Mechanical contractors, today announced it is among the first in the nation within its specialty construction category to use a breakthrough technology to achieve effective social distancing for its workers on job sites.
Made possible through a longtime partnership with United Rentals, the world's largest equipment rental company, NSC has deployed Triax's Proximity Trace technology to ensure its workers maintain a minimum of six feet of social distancing and is in active use at its Kansas City International Airport New Terminal project, where NSC is erecting the structural steel provided by its client, ADF. The project is managed by developer Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate and design-builder Clark | Weitz | Clarkson. Click here to read the entire article.
The reopening of America’s workplaces is creating a variety of challenges for employees and employers alike. In some cases, employers attempting to resume operations are hampered, and in some instances, they are unable to do so due to laid-off employees’ reluctance or refusal to return to work. Many are receiving more in unemployment benefits as the result of the $600 per week federal enhancement than they would make working. That additional amount was scheduled to end July 31.
Despite the recent comments by some in the federal government that it will not be extended, the staggering numbers of unemployed—many of whom worked at jobs that have been eliminated due to business closures—will require a continuation of enhanced benefits in addition to the increase from 26 weeks to 39 weeks of eligibility, which was also provided.
There has been some speculation that if the federal add-on is continued, it could be reduced to some lesser amount. The figure of $450 per week has been mentioned. This could exacerbate the refusals to return to those jobs that are available. For some, the short-term additional benefits outweigh returning to a job they fear may be lost in the near future anyway. Click here to read entire article.
Online equipment buying has seen a surge in activity over the past several months as COVID-19 accelerated an already existing trend to online marketplaces. Since the start of the pandemic, global commerce leader eBay has seen a steady increase in the number of visits and new buyers to the site as contractors and other essential workers sought the necessary tools and equipment to continue their work.
“We’ve seen that buyers are becoming more comfortable with purchasing equipment online, a trend that was already growing in popularity prior to the pandemic,” says Nick Stalcup, head of heavy equipment, parts and attachments, eBay. “During these unprecedented times, many equipment auction sites have had to shut down their in-person operations in order to navigate the challenges presented by limited interpersonal contact, travel and other precautions. The pandemic has forced buyers away from traditional ways of acquiring equipment, such as live auctions, introducing them to online marketplaces like eBay, where they can fulfill their equipment needs from the comfort and safety of any location.” Click here to read entire article.
As the number of novel coronavirus cases continues to rise nationwide, the recurring message from many public health experts and doctors has been simple: Wearing masks saves lives.
“We are not defenseless against covid-19,” Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in July. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.”
But as face coverings have become increasingly commonplace in American life, so have questions about efficacy — and now a group of researchers from Duke University are aiming to provide some answers. Click here to read the entire article.
Proximity Trace Used to Monitor, Maintain Social Distancing on $1.9-Billion KCI Airport Project
In order to maintain social distancing on site, steel erector National Steel City of Plymouth, Mich., is using the Proximity Trace wearable sensor from Triax Technologies on the $1.9-billion Kansas City International Airport (KCI) single-terminal reconstruction project.
Proximity Trace tags are easily clipped to hardhats. “The alert goes off when two of the workers are within 6 ft of one another. They get a beep. If they don’t move, the beep goes faster and then it doesn’t stop,” says Bob Dunn, CEO of National Steel City. “Triax had a relationship with United Rentals, who we’ve had an alliance of 20 plus years with. Within a very short period of time, they got information and the sensors to us and we were able to deploy them at the site.” Click here to read the entire article.