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COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application

Due to the unprecedented economic crisis the Small Business Administration has multiple different programs for you to help in this great time of need.

The SBA has created an online application for you to fill out. To get ahead of the line for their disaster relief fund, Please follow the link below and fill out all the information needed it should only take you about 10 min.

Also for more resources about other federal options besides the CARE Act check out this link.

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Government Assistance Programs for Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak is an evolving, uncertain situation. For small business owners, this is an especially challenging time. Fortunately, different government agencies are announcing assistance programs for small businesses during the economic slowdown.

Keep reading for a breakdown of the different programs at a local, state, and federal level. This article will be updated regularly, as more assistance programs are announced every day.

**Last updated March 25, 2020

National Government Assistance Programs for Small Business

The federal government is working to pass a bailout package that will include relief funds for small businesses, though the exact nature of the relief funds has not been finalized yet. In the meantime, the federal tax filing deadline has been pushed to July 15 to give businesses and individuals some breathing room.

SBA Programs

The SBA has an Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides loans of up to $2 million to businesses in designated disaster areas. The rates are 3.75% and  a maximum term up to 30 years. To qualify your State must submit a disaster declaration to the federal government. Check out the disaster loan page from the SBA to see which areas are eligible so far.

State Government Assistance Programs for Small Business


Florida has initiated the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. This program is available to any business in Florida that has experienced “economic damage” due to COVID-19.  Loans are interest free with a 1-year term and amounts up to $50,000. The Bridge program is not meant to be a primary assistance program, but rather is in place to support businesses as they wait for federal support or support from their financial institution. Eligibility, details, application information are available on the Florida Disaster Loan site. 


Iowa has launched a new Iowa Small Business Relief Program for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The program will offer grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000, in addition to offering a deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest to eligible businesses. More information about this program can be found here.


Maryland’s Department of Commerce has released a few initiatives to assist small businesses during the outbreak. The state has launched a $50 million Emergency Relief Grant Fund that offers grant amounts up to $10,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. They have also launched a $75 million Emergency Relief Loan Fund that will provide businesses with 50 or fewer employees loans up to $50,000. You can apply for both programs, as well as existing Maryland small business support programs, on the Maryland OneStop portal.


Massachusetts launched the Small Business Recovery Loan Fund. This fund offers capital to qualifying Massachusetts businesses with under 50 employees. They are offering loans up to $75,000, with terms of 36 months and no payments for the first 6 months. They have not disclosed rates at this time. More information about this program can be found here.


Michigan has launched the Michigan Small Business Relief Program. The program will provide both grants and loans to small businesses who have been affected by COVID-19. They expect to have funds available starting in early April. More information about the program can be found here.


the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will be providing interest-free emergency loans ranging from $2,500 to $35,000 to Minnesota-based businesses in need. To qualify, a business must prove that they have experienced hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about the program here.

New Mexico

The New Mexico Economic Development Department created the COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program to aid small businesses seeking emergency loans or lines of credit. The program can guarantee a portion of a loan or line of credit up to 80% of principal or $50,000. Learn more about the program here.


Wisconsin has launched the Small Business 20/20 Program. The program will provide grants of up to $20,000 to assist targeted businesses with cash flow challenges resulting from COVID-19. Program funds will be made available through approved community development financial institutions (CDFIs).  Wisconsin is also working to expand access to funding through other programs as more resources become available. Learn more about the program and other small business support efforts here.

Local Government Assistance Programs for Small Business


The Atlanta City Council approved Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s call for a $7 million coronavirus emergency fund that will allocate $1.5 million to small businesses. Check out the city of Atlanta’s COVID-19 page for more information.


Chicago has launched the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. The fund will provide small businesses with loans of up to $50,000 with terms of up to 5 years. The business must use the loan for working capital, with 50% of proceeds used for payroll. The business must also commit to keep at least 50% of their employees on staff. The business must have suffered at least 25% drop in revenue from the outbreak, employ less than 50 employees, and have had gross revenues of less than $3 million in 2019. Learn more about the program here.


Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the creation of a $4 million small business relief fund for businesses affected by COVID-19. Denver business owners can apply for cash grants up to $7,500, with businesses that have been hardest hit by the outbreak first in line for funds. Visit the Denver Economic Development and Opportunity page for more information on how to apply.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles has established a Small Business Emergency Microloan Program. The program offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 with 0-3% interest rates.

New York City

New York City has announced they will offer relief for small businesses who are struggling due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decrease by more than 25% will be eligible for an interest free loan of up to $75,000. NYC is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs to help avoid layoffs. Learn more about the assistance program here.


Philadelphia has launched a COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund. The program will provide immediate relief to local small businesses in the form of grants and zero-interest loans. Learn more about the fund here.


The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon in partnership with Prosper Portland has launched a COVID-19 Small Business Response Fund. Small businesses located in Portland’s Jade District or Old Town Chinatown are eligible to receive support through the city’s $190,000 emergency fund. Asian and Pacific Islander business owners will be prioritized. Learn more about the program here.


Sacramento has established a $1 million economic relief fund for businesses that provides 0% interest loans up to $25,000 per business. Learn more about the program here.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has launched an Emergency Loan Program for businesses affected by the outbreak. Business owners based in the area can apply for 0% interest loans up to $20,000, which can be used for working capital needs, inventory or marketing. Learn more about the program here.

San Francisco

San Francisco has launched the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund. The fund will provide grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses to use towards payroll and rent. To qualify, the business must employ 5 people or less, demonstrate a loss of revenue of at least 25%, and have gross receipts of less than $2,500,000. Learn more about the fund here.


The city of Seattle has announced a Business Stabilization Fund. The fund will award grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that meet the following criteria: the business must employ 5 or fewer employees, have a physical location, and have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about the program here.


The Syracuse Economic Development Corporation has created a $500,000 fund to provide zero-percent interest, 180-day emergency loans up to $25,000 to the city’s small businesses. Learn more about the program here.

We’ll continue to update this page as the situation evolves. For more helpful information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, check out our resource hub.

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List of Banks Offering Help to Customers Impacted by the Coronavirus

Article originally appeared here:

Banks across the country are taking steps to help consumers impacted by the deadly coronavirus.

As of March 17, there are more than 4,600 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States and more than 185,000 people infected with COVID-19 around the world, according to data provided by John Hopkins University.

As retailers temporarily close up shop and employers cut back on hours, consumers should find out whether their banks are included on the list of those making policy adjustments.

Here’s a running list of decisions some of America’s largest banks have made to support customers with CDs, checking accounts and other types of savings products who are struggling to make ends meet. (This list will be updated on a regular basis as banks make changes to their policies for customers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. For information on what credit card issuers are doing to help their customers during this crisis, you can check this updated list.)

Bank of America

The bank noted that employees are trained to help decide what the right support for an individual customer looks like. A spokesperson for the bank also notes that, “As part of our regular practice, we offer assistance to qualifying consumer and small business clients facing hardships, including forbearance with certain fees.”

Account holders are welcome to contact the bank if they need financial assistance. Through the bank’s Financial Center and ATM locator, you can find out whether the nearest Bank of America facility is open or closed for now. Its page noting the steps they’re taking in light of the spread of the virus also reminds customers that online banking and the Bank of America mobile app are also options.

Capital One

The McLean, Virginia-based bank has a page that’s dedicated to addressing questions and concerns related to the coronavirus. It’s asking customers to reach out if they’re going through a difficult financial situation. The customer support section of their website lists various phone numbers account holders can use depending on the product or account they have.

Effective Monday, March 16, Capital One Cafes nationwide are temporarily closing, the bank’s website says, “due to growing public health concern and in an effort to be proactive.” Branches in certain areas are also temporarily closing.

If you need to access a branch, check online first using the Locations Finder tool to find out if there’s one open near you. In the meantime, the bank recommends using its mobile app and other digital tools. Capital One ATMs, including most of the machines in the cafes and branches that are momentarily unavailable, are still accessible 24/7.


The CEO of Chase consumer banking has a message for customers listed on the bank’s website. It asks account holders to call the bank if they’ve been affected by the outbreak and need help, using the phone number listed on the back of their debit card, credit card or monthly statement.

Branches continue to be cleaned, but at this time, they remain open. The bank’s website also says that ATM screens and keypads are being thoroughly disinfected as well.


On March 9, Citi agreed for at least 30 days to waive monthly service fees for retail banking customers and waive penalties for early CD withdrawals. These fee waivers and an additional one for remote deposit capture fees are also waived for retail bank small business customers.

Mortgage customers may be eligible for a hardship program and Citi credit card holders may be able to increase their credit lines and benefit from collection forbearance programs. Customers should reach out to the bank to find out if they qualify for assistance.

In its branches, Citi is providing plenty of hand sanitizer and ensuring that workers are aware of health and safety guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Goldman Sachs

The company announced via email that customers using the online banking platform and lender, known as Marcus, would be allowed to delay making payments for a month. And users with an Apple Credit Card — which is issued by Goldman Sachs — will be able to avoid making payments for the month of March entirely without worrying about accruing any interest.

In addition to offering personal loans, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is an online bank that provides access to high-yield CDs and savings accounts and no-penalty CDs that don’t charge customers for withdrawals beginning seven days after opening an account.


The bank, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, also has a page dedicated to answering questions customers may have related to the coronavirus. The bank says it’s willing to assist account holders experiencing a financial hardship and has a customer service phone number listed (1-888-762-2265).

Meanwhile, as other banks have done, PNC is encouraging customers to make the most of its digital channels and features.


The bank, which formed out of a recent merger between SunTrust and BB&T banks, says on its website that it’s taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of its customers, including disinfecting ATMs, door handles, elevator touch pads and other surfaces that visitors frequently come into contact with at branches. There are also more hand sanitizers available now at the bank.

Other steps taken by the bank include waiving ATM surcharge fees temporarily for consumers and business owners and offering payment relief assistance for customers with credit cards, business loans and consumer loans. In addition, SunTrust and BB&T consumer credit card holders can get 5 percent cash back through Apr. 15 when they purchase certain items at pharmacies and grocery stores. There are also phone numbers listed on the Truist website that retail and business clients can call.

On Mar. 17, the Truist Financial Corp. pledged that it intends to donate $25 million through its Truist Cares initiative to provide aid and supplies to clients, employees and communities across the U.S. impacted by the coronavirus. Through the Truist Charitable Fund, a $1 million donation is immediately going to the CDC Foundation and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Through the Truist Foundation, a $3 million donation will be given to United Way organizations that support local communities.

U.S. Bank

Customers of U.S. Bank will also find a message from the CEO on the bank’s website. It outlines what the bank has done to protect its clients and retail bank customers, like providing extra hand sanitizer, wipes and spray in branches.

On March 13, U.S. Bank temporarily lowered costs for borrowers interested in personal loans and the bank’s Simple Loan product, which has been touted as a payday loan alternative for low-income Americans who need access to small-dollar credit options. Customers are also reminded that they can use the bank’s digital capabilities to bank at home.

Wells Fargo

Customers of Wells Fargo also have a hub page to access for all updates regarding the coronavirus. Wells Fargo lists a phone number (1-800-869-3557) account holders can call if they need financial assistance and want to discuss their options.

The bank is encouraging account holders to use Wells Fargo’s digital tools, but branches and contact centers are still open.

The Wells Fargo Foundation has agreed to donate up to $6.25 million to public health aid efforts being made abroad and here in the U.S. It will also soon donate up to $5 million to support local communities.

TD Bank

The Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based bank has a list of bank stores on its website that are temporarily closed. It also says that it is reducing hours at some locations and sending hand sanitizing kits as needed.

Account holders facing a financial hardship due to the coronavirus should call customer service (1-888-751-9000), which is available 24/7. Customers who cannot visit a physical location are being directed to TD Bank’s online and mobile banking platforms. They can also stop by ATMs to make withdrawals and deposits.

Learn more:

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Coronavirus and the market plunge: 5 things you can do right now

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Small Business Resources to Help with Coronavirus Impacts

Article originally appeared here:

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Small business owners have been top of mind for us at TPG over the last eight months. In addition to covering new offers on business credit cards, we started the TPG Small Biz community to help owners maximize their loyalty returns and network with fellow travel enthusiasts who understand the life of a small business owner.However, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 continues to have massive effects on the economy, and small business owners are already some of the hardest hit in just under two weeks.

READ MORE: TPG’s hub page for the coronavirus outbreak

Local, state and federal governments have begun rolling out programs to help owners in this time of crisis. Financiers have also gotten onboard, with some card issuers going as far as waiving interest and fees.

What follows is a list of resources designed to provide information and relief for small businesses. We will continually update this guide as we find new programs and see adjustments to existing ones. You can also email me if you are aware of additional tools or programs, and I’ll happily add them to the list.

General preparedness

Business continuity planning

U.S. Chamber of Commerce resources and guidelines

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) COVID-19 resources

Restaurant owner information and resources

Federal government

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — The Treasury Department and IRS just announced a three-month delay for any tax payments owed up to $1 million. You’ll still need to file your returns by April 15, 2020 but will have until July 15 to pay. This will apply to individual tax returns but should also cover many pass-through entities and small businesses.

Small Business Administration (SBA) — The Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources page is being continually updated with all SBA tools and resources, including preparedness checklists and different avenues to access capital.

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans — Designated areas are eligible for working capital loans up to $2 million. Interest rates are 3.75% for small business and 2.75% for non-profits, with long-term repayments up to a maximum of 30 years. You can apply online or call the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955.

State/Local Governments

Arkansas — The State Chamber of Commerce has created a list of resources and regularly-updated information for business owners in the state.

California — Employers facing potential closures or layoffs can request America’s Job Center of California Rapid Response Services for help in evaluating your business and employee situation. Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest.

New York City — The NYC Small Business Services is offering grants and zero-interest loans to businesses in specific categories of size and revenue impact. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decrease by 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses. The city is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.

Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has put together a COVID-19 Business Resource guide that appears to be updated almost daily. There’s a list of contacts and resources that are available to assist affected businesses.

San Francisco — The city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development has a comprehensive list of resources and updated information for business owners in the bay area. The city is rapidly instituting programs to help business owners. Follow @sfoewd on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest information.

Seattle — The SeattleMet has an excellent list of resources for small business owners and employees in the metro area. Grants of up to $10,000 are available for businesses that make 80 percent (or less) of the area’s media income and have five or fewer employees. The business and occupation tax deadline has been extended, and there are deferred payment plans for utilities. There are plenty of other programs currently available in and around what is (at this point) the hardest-hit city in the U.S.

Commercial programs

Facebook — The social media company announced $100 million in grants for small businesses in a blog post on March 17. Details have yet to be announced for what businesses are eligible for the grants. There is a sign-up link in the blog post to stay updated when details are released.

Zoom Basic Plan — Host up to 100 participants in a meeting and hold unlimited one-on-one meetings with the video-conference provider’s complimentary plan. This does provide a 40-minute limit on group meetings, though you’re not limited to the number of meetings.

Microsoft Teams freemium — Enjoy unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage per user. You also get real-time collaboration with the Office apps for web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Card issuers

American Express Financial Hardship — Amex is evaluating accounts on a case-by-case basis under its Financial Hardship Relief program to provide support for cardholders impacted by COVID-19. If approved, your interest rate may be lowered to rates as low as 0%, and you may receive a waiver on late and other account fees. Just note that if you accept the relief, your accounts may be frozen, and you won’t be able to use them until paid off. Your Membership Rewards balance will also be frozen, and the issuer may notify the credit bureaus that your account limits were lowered.

American Express Working Capital — Amex business cardholders can enroll with no credit check and get ongoing access to funds used for vendor payments between $500 and $150,000 with repayment terms of 30, 60 or 90 days. These charge a fixed fee between 0.6% and 5.25%.

Chase — You can call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak with an account representative about the possibility of relief from fees and interest. Multiple readers have reported success in having interest and late fees waived due to hardship related to COVID-19.

Bottom Line

We expect the above list to grow rapidly as governments continue to enact programs to help business owners and additional commercial partners update their policies and programs. We at TPG wish all our small-business readers the best during today’s trying times (and those that are still to come). You can join TPG Small Biz on Facebook to discuss everything related to COVID-19 with almost 2,000 other small-business owners.

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White House, Senate reach historic $2 trillion stimulus deal amid growing coronavirus fears

Article originally appeared here:

Washington (CNN)The White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures in the history of Congress.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are done,” White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland said right before 1 a.m. after leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office following negotiations that have gone around the clock since last Friday. “We have a deal.”

McConnell formally announced the agreement on the Senate floor, saying, “At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic.”

The majority leader described it as “a war-time level of investment for our nation,” and said that the Senate would move to pass it later in the day on Wednesday. The Senate will re-convene at noon. An exact time has not yet been set for the vote.

The full details have yet to be released. But over the last 24 hours, the elements of the proposal have come into sharper focus, with $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

The stimulus bill also has a provision that would block President Donald Trump and his family, as well as other top government officials and members of Congress, from getting loans or investments from Treasury programs in the stimulus, according to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office.

The package, if it passes Congress, would be the most significant legislative action taken to address the rapidly intensifying coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming hospitals and grinding much of the economy to a halt. Schumer called it “the largest rescue package in American history,” in remarks on the Senate floor in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “This is not a moment of celebration — but of necessity,” he said.

The plan will deliver a massive infusion of financial aid into a struggling economy hard hit by job loss, with provisions to help impacted American workers and families as well as small businesses and major industries including airlines.

On CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday, Schumer touted the bill as “worker-friendly,” pointing to its billions for unemployment insurance benefits and small business loans.

Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic adviser, called the package “the single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States” at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

“This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy, provide cash injections and liquidity and stabilize financial markets to get us through a difficult and challenging period in the economy facing us right now,” Kudlow said.

Under the plan as it was being negotiated, individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400 — and an additional $500 per each child. The payment would scale down by income, phasing out entirely at $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for couples without children.

While the final bill text hasn’t been released, some of the areas have been debated behind closed doors for days. There was intense partisan debate over the $500 billion proposal to provide loans to distressed companies, with $50 billion in loans for passenger air carriers. Democrats contended there was not enough oversight on how the money would be doled out, but the Trump administration agreed to an oversight board and the creation of an inspector general position to review how the money is spent.

Negotiators also discussed providing four months of unemployment benefits, extending to self-employed workers. Also, the bill would ensure the Small Business Administration could serve as a guarantor for loans of up to $10 billion for small businesses to ensure they can maintain their payrolls and pay off their debts.

In addition, the bill would provide a major amount of funding for hard-hit hospitals — $130 billion — as well as $150 billion for state and local governments that are cash-strapped due to their response to combat coronavirus.

After two consecutive days of high-profile setbacks — with Senate Democrats blocking procedural votes on Sunday and Monday over opposition to a bill initially crafted by Senate Republicans — a deal appeared to be imminent by Tuesday morning.

Top negotiators signaled that many of the issues had been resolved and suggested there could be action on a package later in the day.

Schumer optimistically announced at one point that the Senate was at the two-yard line. But by Tuesday evening, no legislative text had been made public as negotiators continued their work.

Asked on Tuesday evening why negotiators appeared to be having such a hard time closing out the deal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has served as a point person for the administration in the talks, responded, “Who says we are having a hard time? It’s just a complicated deal. We go through a lot of language.”

“We are getting there,” he responded.

Democrats had argued they wanted to see more safeguards for American workers in the deal and oversight for how funding would be doled out. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both signaled on Tuesday that they had won concessions in the emerging deal to that end.

Pelosi said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on Tuesday that “many of the provisions in there have been greatly improved because of negotiation,” while Schumer said the legislation will have “unemployment insurance on steroids.” “Does it have everything we need? No. Are some things in there that I would have rather not had? No, of course. But this is the art of compromise,” Schumer told CNN’s John Berman Wednesday morning, adding, “America needed huge help quickly. And I think we’ve risen to that occasion.”

Schumer also suggested that the trillion-dollar stimulus plan may not be enough to offset the economic damage given the uncertainty of the pandemic, and that negotiators might have to “come back in a bipartisan way and do more if we need.” McConnell praised the emerging deal as a win for Republicans as well, saying, “We are close to a bill that takes our bold Republican framework, integrates further ideas from both parties and delivers huge progress.”

Once a deal is released, the next question will be how quickly it can be approved by both chambers — a challenge made more daunting by the fact that Congress is now operating in a scenario where several of its members have tested positive for coronavirus while many more have self-quarantined after contact with infected individuals.

Pelosi suggested on Tuesday that she is hoping to avoid bringing the full House back to Washington to vote on the package, seeking to pass it through unanimous consent instead. But any individual member can block such a move, creating uncertainty over whether that will be feasible.

Another option may be for the House to approve the package by voice vote as opposed to holding a recorded roll call vote. House Republicans are falling in line behind the Senate stimulus plan and are willing to allow quick passage of the plan, according to a source on the GOP whip team.

After conferring with the various factions of the House GOP Conference, the source said that it is a “possible outcome” for the House to voice vote the package when the chamber eventually considers it.

Pelosi has called for the bill to be approved by unanimous consent, but the GOP source said that “it’s a very real possibility” that a member would object, preventing that from happening.

Pelosi is also open to allowing the bill to pass by a voice vote, which would allow the presiding officer to rule in favor of the side that has the most voice votes.

However, members could request a recorded, roll call vote, which would require the full House to return to pass the bill, something lawmakers are eager to avoid amid the coronavirus outbreak.

This story has been updated to include reaction from Schumer. CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.

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Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

From: Department of Finance Canada


The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Support for Canadians

Income Support for Individuals Who Need it Most

Flexibility for Taxpayers

Mortgage Default Management Tools

Role of Financial Institutions

Support for Businesses

Supporting Canadian Businesses Through the Canada Account

Helping Businesses Keep Their Workers

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

Ensuring Businesses have Access to Credit

Supporting Financial Market Liquidity

Economic Response Plan – Cost and Implementation

Support for Canadians

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

Longer-Term Income Support for Workers

For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:

  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020.

Income Support for Individuals Who Need It Most

For over 12 million low- and modest-income families, who may require additional help with their finances, the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. This measure will inject $5.5 billion into the economy.

For over 3.5 million families with children, who may also require additional support, the Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment. In total, this measure will deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.

Together, the proposed enhancements of the GSTC and CCB will give a single parent with two children and low to modest income nearly $1,500 in additional short-term support.

To ensure that certain groups who may be vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need, the Government is proposing targeted help by:

  • Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
  • Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.
  • Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.
  • Providing the Reaching Home initiative with $157.5 million to continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
  • Supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.

Flexibility for Taxpayers

In order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts. 

  • For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
  • For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. 

In order to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, effective immediately the Canada Revenue Agency will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure. This provision applies to authorization forms T183 or T183CORP, which are forms that are signed in person by millions of Canadians every year to authorize tax preparers to file taxes.

The Canada Revenue Agency is adapting its Outreach Program to support individuals during COVID-19. Through this service, the Canada Revenue Agency offers help to individuals to better understand their tax obligations and to obtain the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone, and through webinar, where possible.

The Canada Revenue Agency fully expects that many community organizations are considering whether to significantly reduce or perhaps cancel the provision of services provided under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Additional efforts to encourage individuals to file their tax and benefit returns electronically, or where possible, through the File My Return service, will be put forward.

Role of Financial Institutions

The Minister of Finance is in regular contact with the heads of Canada’s large banks, and continues to encourage them to show flexibility in helping their customers whose personal or business finances are affected by COVID-19. The Superintendent of Financial Institutions has also made clear his expectation that banks will use the additional lending capacity provided by recent government actions to support Canadian businesses and households.

In response, banks in Canada have affirmed their commitment to working with customers to provide flexible solutions, on a case-by-case basis, for managing through hardships caused by recent developments. This may include situations such as pay disruption, childcare disruption, or illness. Canada’s large banks have confirmed that this support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. These targeted measures respond to immediate challenges being faced across the country and will help stabilize the Canadian economy.

Mortgage Default Management Tools

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.

The Government, through CMHC, is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.

Support for Businesses

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadian businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 13, 2020, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz, and Superintendent of Financial Institutions Jeremy Rudin outlined a coordinated package of measures to support the functioning of markets, the resilience of our financial sector, and continued access to financing for Canadian businesses. These actions will significantly increase the availability of credit to businesses of all sizes, sustain liquidity in key financial markets, and provide flexibility to businesses experiencing hardship.

On March 18, 2020 the government and its partners announced further measures to support businesses. These actions are part of Canada’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, and the significant stimulus program developed to stabilize Canada’s economy, support businesses and to protect Canadians.

Supporting Canadian Business through the Canada Account

The government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times.

Helping Businesses Keep their Workers

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. 

The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

The Liaison Officer service offers help to owners of small businesses to understand their tax obligations. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone and will be customizing information during these challenging times by ensuring small businesses are aware of any changes such as filing and payment deadlines, proactive relief measures, etc.

Ensuring Businesses Have Access to Credit

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. This will be an effective tool for helping viable Canadian businesses remain resilient during these very uncertain times. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism. The near term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.

The Bank of Canada also took a series of actions to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress, enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system, and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses. This included cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices.

Supporting Financial Market Liquidity

As a further proactive and coordinated measure to bolster the financial system and the Canadian economy, the government announced on March 16 that it is launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). Under this program, the government will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market. Details of the terms of the purchase operations will be provided to lenders by CMHC later this week.

The IMPP enhances the already substantial set of measures announced on March 13 to support the economy and the financial system. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary.

Further, the Bank of Canada has announced that it will adjust its market liquidity operations to maintain market functioning and credit availability during the current period of uncertainty in which conditions are evolving rapidly.

The Bank of Canada also announced that it will broaden eligible collateral for its term repo facility to include the full range of collateral eligible under the Standing Liquidity Facility, with the exception of the non-mortgage loan portfolio. This expansion of eligible collateral will provide support to funding conditions for financial institutions by providing a backstop to regular private funding.

The Bank also announced that it stands ready, as a proactive measure, to provide support to the Canada Mortgage Bond (CMB) market so that this important funding market continues to function well. This would include, as required, purchases of CMBs in the secondary market. Similar to the increase in Government of Canada bond buybacks, this will support market liquidity and price discovery.

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Business Interruption Coverage for the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has already caused severe disruption to the economy. In the U.S., governmental entities, as well as the private sector, are implementing more and more drastic measures to respond to the coronavirus. While these efforts may be wise in light of the substantial public health concerns, they threaten to bring parts of the economy to a virtual halt, adversely impacting most every business and resulting in substantial losses. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that if the coronavirus continues to spread more widely, it could cut global growth in 2020 by half.

Business Interruption

As a company determines the impact of the coronavirus on its business, it should assess the business interruption coverage available under its commercial property (or “first-party”) insurance policies. Property policies usually contain “civil authority” or “civil order” coverage which encompasses losses caused by the actions of local, state, or federal authorities. Specifically, a property insurer may cover the loss of income that results when a government entity restricts access to a “location” covered by the policy—for example, an event facility, a shopping center, or factory owned by the company—or significantly impairs the company’s operations at that “location.”

This “civil authority” coverage may also require that the government action result from “direct physical damage” or “direct physical loss,” but this raises two important points.  First, these terms are broadly construed in California and many states as including, for example, a location that is contaminated with a virus or disease and/or is unfit for its intended use. Second, under many policies the contamination need not occur at a property owned by the company; instead, these policies provide that the contamination may exist anywhere within a defined radius around the company’s property of, say, 5 or 10 miles.

Finally, if the company’s own property is impacted by the coronavirus, then the policy may cover business interruption even in the absence of government action. The bottom line is that scope of business interruption coverage will depend on the language of your property policy and the specifics of the disruption to your business.

Contingent Business Interruption/Supply Chain Impacts

Many businesses depend on parts or products that are manufactured in China, Italy, or other areas impacted by the coronavirus, and have suffered losses due to disruption of their supply chain. Commercial property policies often contain “supply chain” or “contingent business interruption” coverage. Like the business interruption coverage for the company itself, this coverage may be triggered where there is physical loss/physical damage at links in the supply chain (for example, manufacturers, distributors, or customers), or there is a government order barring access to, or impairing the operations of, those upstream or downstream suppliers, service providers, and customers.

Next Steps

We have seen government orders and waves of cancellations and closures that were unthinkable just weeks ago. As companies assess the disruptive effects of the coronavirus, they should consider the business interruption and contingent business interruption coverage available under their insurance programs. They should also consult with their insurance brokers and counsel because the insurance industry is likely to take a hard line on coronavirus claims as they are confronted with more and more of them.

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China Reports No New Domestic Cases for 1st Time Since Outbreak Started

Article originally appeared here:–abc-news-topstories.html

A pandemic of a new respiratory virus that began in China just three months ago has tightened its grip around Europe and North America.

The novel coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, has spread to every continent except Antarctica as well as every single European country, infecting more than 222,600 people globally and killing at least 9,115 of them, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. While China still compromises the bulk of the world’s cases and fatalities, that proportion is shrinking by the day as the outbreak appears to ease up there and intensify abroad.

MORE: Tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus in the US and around the world

The disease has now infected 9,415 people across all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, making the United States the country with the fifth-highest national total of confirmed cases in the world. At least 141 people have died, according to ABC News’ count.

With more than 35,000 confirmed cases, Italy has the second-highest national total, behind China.

Today’s biggest developments:

China reports no new domestic cases for 1st time since outbreak began Virus now present in all European countries 50 new infections per hour in Iran, health ministry spokesman says Half of the world’s student population out of school U.S. death toll at 141

Here’s how the news is unfolding today. All times Eastern. Please refresh for updates.

8:25 a.m.: ‘This is absolutely serious,’ U.S. surgeon general warns

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is urging young Americans to take the novel coronavirus pandemic more seriously and cooperate with health precautions, as throngs of college students were seen crowding beaches and bars for spring break.

“This is absolutely serious. People are dying,” Adams told ABC News in an interview Thursday on “Good Morning America.”

“Think about your grandmother, think about your grandfather,” he added. ” You’re spreading disease and that could be what ultimately kills them.”

Adams advised all Americans — young and old — to restrict non-essential travel, to stay home from work if possible and to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

“If we all do that across the country, then we can have our trajectory like China which overnight, good news, reported no new domestic cases,” he said. “Italy looks like the worst case scenario and it’s why we are ringing the alarm, why we’re telling America to take this seriously. But we have a better case scenario and China is reassuring. China shows us that if we do this, then in six to eight weeks we will hit our peak and start to come back down again.”

PHOTO: Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with ‘Good Morning America’ about the coronavirus, March 19, 2020. (ABC News)

The surgeon general emphasized that everyone has a role to play in fighting the epidemic and “little things that you do add up to big changes over time.”

“If you are negligent, if you don’t practice good hygiene, if you go out and spread disease to someone else, then it can add up over time,” he said. “But good behaviors add up over time and what I tell people is, I want everyone to act as if you have the virus. Whenever you’re interacting with someone else, just imagine you have the virus and act as if you want to protect them or that they have the virus and you want to protect from getting it.”

MORE: Frustration and confusion mounts among some doctors and patients who can’t get coronavirus tests

When asked about the frustration surrounding the lack of diagnostic tests for COVID-19, Adams said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “was never designed to provide millions of tests.”

“What we’re really focused on now is making sure people who are at highest risk, including our health care workers, critically important, and people who have symptoms can get tested,” he said. “Thousands more tests this week, tens of thousands increasing by the day, and we’re not where we want to be but we feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”

“Unfortunately, people who are asymptomatic or don’t really need to be tested based on priorities are out there getting tests and clogging up the lines,” he added. “Then our older people and sicker people, our health care workers won’t be able to get that testing.”

MORGAN WINSOR Good Morning America March 19, 2020