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How to reopen your small business after coronavirus lockdowns

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For starters, they changed the way they worked. Don’t expect that your employees will come streaming in the doors at 9 am, sit at their desks and pick up from where they left off. The essential businesses that stayed in operation made significant efforts to keep their employees safely distanced from each other and comfortable in the office. That meant staggering shifts, requiring masks, encouraging frequent hand-washing, moving around desks, limiting access to common areas and overall reducing face-to-face interactions.



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Chinese diaspora Inc – South-East Asian tycoons’ high-wire act | Business

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Health unit offering supports for reopening businesses

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is working with the local business community to provide tools for a safe and smooth reopening.

Resources and virtual education sessions are being offered through the Windsor Essex Chamber of Commerce to address employee health and well-being as business starts back up.

“What are some of the things from a public health perspective that they can use to ensure that their businesses are safe and they are the provincial requirements and guidelines,” said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health. “We felt that is was important for them, and also for us, to have some kind of a toolkit available that people can use and identify what are some of the things that they need to do to ensure that their businesses are ready.”

Dr. Ahmed said they would be using provincial guidelines as well as their expertise to create sector-specific information for local businesses.

As of Thursday morning, 16,486 people have been tested in the region, 927 cases are confirmed. That is an increase of seven in the last 24 hours. The health unit reports all seven are connected to the agri-food sector. There are 1,107 test results pending.

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House to vote on changes to small business pandemic aid program

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The legislation — titled the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act — was introduced by Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota. It is intended to make loans more accessible under the program by making its terms of use more flexible.

The legislation would give small businesses more time to use emergency loans under the program by extending the eight-week period in which they must use the money to qualify for loan forgiveness to 24 weeks.

The bill would also give small businesses more flexibility by changing the so-called 75/25 rule, which requires recipients of funds under the program to use three-quarters of the money for payroll costs and limit other costs to no more than 25% in order to be eligible for loan forgiveness. The new ratio would be at least 60% on payroll and no more than 40% on other costs.

The legislation would also allow businesses that receive loan forgiveness under the program to defer payroll taxes.

The push to make fixes to the loan program comes as Democrats and Republicans have yet to reach agreement over how to move forward with a new, sweeping coronavirus relief package. But sponsors of the bill argue that fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program can’t wait until Congress comes to a consensus on a bigger package.

“I hope that Congress doesn’t mess this up en route to some grand bargain,” Roy told CNN on Wednesday.

Moving forward with these fixes to the program is the first sign that House Democrats are willing to advance narrow pieces of legislation following their passage of a $3 trillion aid package earlier this month. The sweeping package reflected Democratic priorities and was not a product of bipartisan negotiation.

For now, smaller tweaks to already-enacted aid programs may be more imminent.

The Paycheck Protection Program was set up as part of an earlier relief plan — the CARES Act — to help small businesses continue to pay workers during the crisis. The program’s rollout has been hampered by technical issues and glitches, but small business owners have clamored for the aid and the program’s funding has already been replenished once by lawmakers after funding ran dry.

The push for bipartisan fixes to the program comes as business owners have complained that the terms of use are overly restrictive and do not offer enough flexibility amid the crisis.

The House is scheduled to take up the bill under a suspension of the rules vote Thursday, a procedural move reserved for the passage of uncontroversial legislation with widespread bipartisan support.

A group of senators pushed to pass their own version of legislation to provide greater flexibility for the loan program last week, but the Senate did not pass it before adjourning for the Memorial Day weekend.

The Senate bill includes significant differences from the House proposal. It maintains the so-called 75/25 rule and gives businesses 16 weeks, not 24, to use their funding.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday that he hopes the Senate will take up the small business revisions that pass in the House.

“I don’t know that there’s much reconciliation; there’s not that much difference,” Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, said of House and Senate versions of the legislation.

“What we think is there is a general consensus between both the House and Senate that the time frame that was set was too short. Unfortunately, we had hoped that this would be resolved sooner,” he said referring to the coronavirus threat. “I don’t really think there’s a lot to resolve.”

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