MA Four Phase Approach to Reopening
General Business Guidance
Information to help businesses meet the self-certification requirement to reopen. All businesses must meet these requirements before reopening. Businesses operating to provide Essential Services may remain open and have until May 25, 2020 to comply with these mandatory safety standards.
COVID-19 control plan template – Template that satisfies the written control plan requirement for self-certification
Compliance attestation poster – Poster that customer facing businesses are required to print, sign, and post in an area within the business premises that is visible to workers and visitors
Employer and Worker posters – Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises to describe the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting
Sector Specific Protocols and Best Practices
Sector specific guidancefor businesses deemed safe to open in Phase I, II, and III is available.
MA Temporary Capacity and Gathering Limits (Effective 12/26/2020 – 1/24/2021, unless otherwise extended by Governor)
Massachusetts will implement temporary capacity limits to stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations rise. The revised limits supersede existing limits in the Phase 3, Step 1 Sector-Specific Protocols. These limits are in effect until January 24, 2021 unless further extended by the Governor. See capacity and gathering limits at mass.gov.
Roll Back to Phase 3, Step 1 (Effective 12/13/2020)
Mandatory Night-Time Closing Period for Certain Businesses and Activities (Effective 11/5/2020)
- Restaurants, provided however that restaurants may offer food and non-alcoholic beverages for take-out and by delivery during the mandatory closing period
- Arcades and Other Indoor and Outdoor Recreation
- Indoor and Outdoor Events
- Indoor and Outdoor Theaters, Movie Theaters, and Performance Venues
- Drive-In Movie Theaters
- Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities
- Golf Facilities
- Recreational Boating and Boating Businesses
- Outdoor Recreational Experiences and Educational Activities
- Casinos, Horse Racing Tracks, and Simulcast Facilities
- Driving and Flight Schools
- Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Reserves, and Nature Centers
- Close Contact Personal Services
- Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
- Indoor and Outdoor Pools (Public and Semi-Public Swimming Pools)
- Museums/Cultural & Historical Facilities/Guided Tours
Restriction on Service and Sale of Alcohol During Mandatory Closing Period (Effective 11/5/2020)
Resources for Retailers and Employers to Keep Employees, Customers and Community Safe
- Cleaning Services & Protective Materials for Safe Business Operations
- Executive Office of Housing and Development Letter to Employers
- MA Department of Labor Standards Retail Advisory
Small Business Assistance – Funding For Your Business
Small Business Assistance Grants: Athol, Phillipston, Templeton, Winchendon
Small business assistance grant funds of up to $10,000 are now available to businesses located in Athol, Phillipston, Templeton and Winchendon to assist with the impacts of COVID-19. Visit https://newvuecommunities.org/aptwmap/ to learn more about program guidelines and to obtain an application or contact Bill Brassard at NewVue Communities at 978- 288-0180, email@example.com
Gardner Small Business Assistant Grant Program
Federal CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced today that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. See more information here.
Please direct all questions to the MA Districts Office at MassachusettsDO@sba.gov or 617-565-5590.
- the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form
- PPP Schedule A
- the PPP Schedule A Worksheet
- the (optional) PPP Borrower Demographic Information Form.
Simpler PPP Loan Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less
Economic Injury Disaster Loan program / Emergency Economic Injury Grant ($10,000 Forgivable Advance)
IMPORTANT NOTICE – LAPSE IN APPROPRIATIONS: SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on the EIDL program, please visit here.
Please direct all questions to the MA Districts Office at MassachusettsDO@sba.gov or 617-565-5590.
SBA Express Bridge Loans – Gap Funding
Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Read here for more information.
Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program Guide. Contact lender relations team with questions at MassachusettsDO@sba.gov or 617-565-5590 or visit sba.gov. For SBA Approved Express Lenders see: SBA MA Lender List (organized by region).
SBA Debt Relief
As part of SBA’s debt relief efforts:
- The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
- The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
For additional debt relief measures, see here.
If you have questions about your current loan and whether or not your loan is automatically deferred, please contact your Loan Servicing Office directly using the following information: Birmingham Disaster Loan Servicing Center (800-736-6048, BirminghamDLSC@sba.gov), El Paso Disaster Loan Servicing Center (800-487-6019, ElPasoDLSC@sba.gov)
Emergency Microloan Program
The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation has launched an Emergency Micro-loan Program to assist small businesses in need of funding due to hardship stemming from COVID-19. Loans of up to $20,000 will be awarded to qualifying local businesses. Click here for more information or visit choosenorthcental.com/lending
Tax Relief for Small Businesses
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes. For the full press release, click here. For list of filing and payment extensions and penalty relief, visit mass.gov. Also find information on tax or debt resolutions.
Federal Tax Relief Provisions (further details found at mass.gov)
The Employee Retention Tax Credit is a tax credit against federal tax liability that can benefit almost any employer (regardless of size and including tax-exempt organizations) whose business has been either fully or partially suspended by government orders due to COVID-19, or whose revenues have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Payroll Tax Deferral is another tax provision that can make a difference for employers. The CARES Act allows eligible employers to defer payment of part of their payroll taxes (which they would normally remit on a bi-weekly or monthly basis) to two larger payments; half due on December 31, 2021 and half due on December 31, 2022.
State Tax Relief Measures
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) is actively monitoring the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. Please visit their COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update page for the latest on filing and payment extensions and penalty relief, tax or debt resolutions, communicating with DOR, and more.
MA Governor Charlie Baker has filed legislation to sustain unemployment benefits and provide an estimated $1.3 billion in unemployment insurance relief to the Commonwealth’s employers over two years. See press release for more information.
For further information, visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-and-unemployment-what-you-need-to-know.
MassHire North Central Career Center Update
Due to the current situation with COVID-19, The MassHire North Central Career Center office will be closed to the public for the foreseeable future. Virtual services will be provided to customers. If you are seeking Unemployment Insurance Service please file your claim at www.mass.gov/DUA or contact the DUA call center at 1-877-626-6800. Please be aware that you may experience significant wait times on the toll free line. If you have a deadline to attain your RESEA requirement, staff will be reaching out to you to ensure that your unemployment benefits will not be impacted by these changes.
For employers who are impacted by COVID-19, please visit mass.gov for updated information on how to proceed with claims and information that can help you navigate this unusual situation.
Face Coverings Required In Public
(See Order) All persons in Massachusetts over the age of 5 years old are required to wear a mask or cloth face covering over their mouth and nose when in a public location, whether indoors or outdoors.