National REIA and our partners, like the general public, are concerned about the growing spread of COVID-19 internationally and the impact it will have here in the U.S.  We continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation related to the spread of COVID-19. We understand that concerns for health, safety, and the impact on on your business, are affecting our members. National REIA is working to keep our local Chapters and associations, and their local members updated as possible on items that are important for our industry and our member’s businesses

FAQ for Investors

As we determine the extent of how the changes in federal policies and state and local decisions might affect our members, we will keep you informed.  We have assembled a team of  professionals to address our member’s business concerns.  Our updates are being broadcast on Fridays at 4 p.m.  These updates will be livestreamed and available for later viewing. Please check your email for the invite.  If you did not receive the email please contact us at [email protected] to request call-in details.

REIA Counsel, our COO/Director of Legislative Affairs, and our partners at NAA and NMHC are helping to prepare guidance for our members in how to best operate in this environment.  A document will be emailed to members and will be covered in our aforementioned virtual meetingw.  We all hope the current coronavirus situation moves on quickly without more impact to public health or the economy; but if it continues, REIA will be proactive in providing resources to our membership.  Stay tuned as we post and distribute updates as they are made available.

Please also note that to recognize your own legal responsibility, you need to contact your legal counsel to understand better how to limit your liability as you make modifications to your “normal” operations and communicate with your residents.

Click here for more info on the ban on evictions.

If your residents are having challenges paying rent due to unemployment, layoffs, or other COVID-19 related issues you can find information to help them find assistance here.  You can also find information on your requirements as an employer and possible assistance at the same link.

You may also want to contact your tax professional as changes are being announced ongoing related to filing and paying taxes by the “normal” April 15th deadline.

Click here for more information on taxes.

Please see the instructions our partners at NAA and NMHC made available for multifamily operators below.  Many apply to single-family or small to moderate-sized rental communities as well.  We are currently working to explore issues that may be specific to smaller owners and are compiling a document for our use specifically.

For Associations

In light of the Federal Government’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, National REIA is issuing guidelines for the protection of the health and safety of our members.  Please be aware that as you address any COVID-19 concerns, you need only to address facts and should lean upon the federal agencies and local health departments for guidance and statements of fact.  This limits your liability.  Please see the pdf from the CDC for guidance on COVID.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/fs-CERC-Infectious-Disease.pdf  and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts-h.pdf

The REIA Board and Staff has cancelled all face-to-face meetings, including visiting REIAs across the country and meetings with vendors and partners.  We have also issued recommendations to our groups to cancel all meetings, including all education sessions, seminars, and committee meetings in the next eight weeks resulting from the most updated CDC guidelines.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html

Ultimately, public health and safety will be paramount and overrule even statutory requirements for meeting procedures. In a health crisis like COVID-19, the situation can change from day to day. REIA boards and owners should be guided by local, state, and federal authorities (such as the CDC), and association decisions should be reasonable based on that guidance. If you have not yet spoken to your county health department, call today to make contact and confirm your association will be notified if the current recommendations change.  You can find the list of contact information for health departments nationwide here.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury from COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that a business cannot pay due to COVID-19. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. Apply for an EIDL at www.sba.gov/disaster. Due to website traffic, please exercise patience.  For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail [email protected]

SBA Updates Criteria on States for Requesting Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Release Date:
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Release Number:
20-26
Contact:
[email protected], (202) 205-7036

WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the Trump Administration’s aggressive, whole-of-government efforts to combat the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and minimize economic disruption to the nation’s 30 million small businesses, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts:

  • Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance. Historically, the SBA has required that any state or territory impacted by disaster provide documentation certifying that at least five small businesses have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county/parish. Under the just-released, revised criteria, states or territories are only required to certify that at least five small businesses within the state/territory have suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of where those businesses are located.
  • Expanded, Statewide Access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses. SBA disaster assistance loans are typically only available to small businesses within counties identified as disaster areas by a Governor. Under the revised criteria issued today, disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

“We’re very encouraged that banks and financial institutions are responding to the President’s efforts to mobilize an unprecedented public-private response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As a result, most small businesses that need credit during these uncertain times will be able to obtain it. However, our goal is to ensure that credit is available to any and all small businesses that need credit but are unable to access it on reasonable terms through traditional lending channels,” said Administrator Carranza. “To that end, the SBA is relaxing the criteria through which states or territories may formally request an economic injury declaration, effective immediately. Furthermore, once an economic injury declaration has been made in a state or territory, the new rules allow the affected small businesses within the state or territory to apply for a disaster assistance loan.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

Businesses impacted by the current public health crisis can find details about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application
The form and instructions inform borrowers on how to apply for PPP loan forgiveness, consistent with the CARES Act. SBA will soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities. Click here to read more.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration released new information regarding the Paycheck Protection Program:

 

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program is providing small businesses with the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead.

Program Overview

For Borrowers

For Lenders

  • Lender Assistance Hotline: (833) 572-0502

Program Rules

 

For more information and updates, visit Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection.

 

Assistance for American Workers and Families

IRA Resources can be found at our Preferred Vendor’s website https://www.trustetc.com/blog/coronavirus-resource-center/

OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN – On April 17th, the President hosted a call with the nation’s governors, discussing a framework for reopening America.  Following that, during the evening’s press conference, the President and his Task Force unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. 

 

Other resources from the press conference include a fact sheet and for your convenience, click here for the slides used in today’s briefing outlining the guidelines. 

Testing and Treatment
New Resource to Find Public Health and Testing Information: The White House announced a new collaboration by Schema.org to help Americans find the most up-to-date public health guidance and the most relevant information on testing facilities in their communities. Standard tags were created that can be added to any website’s code, making it easier to find COVID-19 prevention measures, disease spread statistics, quarantine rules and travel guidance, and testing information through online search engine results. All federal websites will incorporate these new Schema.org standard tags. The private sector, state and local governments, and the academic community are encouraged to do the same.

Donating Blood Plasma: FDA is putting out a call to donate blood plasma for recovered COVID-19 patients. Convalescent plasma is an antibody-rich product made from blood donated by people who have recovered from the disease caused by the virus. Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggest that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19. It is important to evaluate this potential therapy in the context of clinical trials, through expanded access, as well as facilitate emergency access for individual patients, as appropriate. The FDA has launched a new webpage to guide recovered COVID-19 patients to local blood or plasma collection centers to discuss their eligibility and potentially schedule an appointment to donate. The webpage also provides information for those interested in participating in the expanded access protocol, conducting clinical trials or submitting eIND applications. The American Red Cross has also set up a website for interested donors (www.redcross.org/plasma4covidExternal Link Disclaimer) and the FDA continues to work with others in this area to help encourage additional donations. Additionally, BARDA and the American Red Cross (ARC) are collaborating on systems and procedures to recruit donors who have recovered from COVID-19. Through this collaboration the ARC will prepare procedures for the collection of plasma for investigational use in treating patients infected with COVID-19.

Expanding Availability of Systems to Measure Body Temperature: FDA issued an immediately-in-effect guidance that provides a policy to help expand the availability of telethermographic systems used for body temperature measurements for triage use for the duration of the public health emergency. The advantage of using telethermographic systems for initial temperature assessment for triage use is the potential use in high throughput areas (e.g., airports, businesses, warehouses, factories) and in settings where other temperature assessment products may be in short supply. FDA believes the policy set forth in this guidance may help address urgent public health concerns raised by shortages of temperature measurement products by helping to clarify the regulatory landscape and expand the availability of telethermographic systems used for initial body temperature measurements for triage use during this public health emergency.

Policy for Compounding Drugs: FDA issued an immediately-in-effect guidance that communicates temporary policy for the compounding of certain human drug products for hospitalized COVID-19 patients by registered outsourcing facilities. Some hospitals are experiencing difficulties accessing drug products used for patients with COVID-19. In addition, due to the large number of persons infected with COVID-19 and subsequent hospitalizations, it is possible that other drug products may become harder to acquire. To help the situation, the FDA will allow specific medicines that are used to aid people on ventilators to be compounded in bulk.

Rapid Diagnostic Test: BARDA is collaborating with Hememics Biotechnologies, Inc. on the development of a rapid, Bluetooth-connected SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test. The test is being designed to detect SARS-CoV-2 antigen from nasal swab samples and associated antibodies in 60 seconds or less through a finger-prick. Using the nasal swab antigen test, healthcare providers can triage patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 rapidly and make informed treatment decisions. Furthermore, antibody testing of blood to identify serological antibodies indicates which patients have been previously infected, even without showing symptoms, and recovered or those who could be potentially developing an infection but asymptomatic and need care. The added convenience of this test being Bluetooth-connected to cloud-based data management networks may aid public health officials with real-time geographical mapping of outbreaks.

Vaccine Update: BARDA and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, are expanding their collaboration to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The previously announced research for a COVID-19 vaccine using a recombinant DNA platform will accelerate into non-clinical studies and a Phase 1 clinical trial to demonstrate initial safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate. The technology was developed with BARDA support to make millions of doses of vaccine quickly in an influenza pandemic, and Sanofi uses the platform for its FDA-licensed seasonal influenza recombinant vaccine.

Serology Tests: The FDA issued two new emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for serology tests to detect for the presence of coronavirus antibodies. The EUAs were issued to Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc. for its VITROS Immunodiagnostic Products Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total Reagent Pack and Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Inc. for its DPP COVID-19 IgM/IgG System.

Contact Tracing App: NIH funded MD2K who launched the new mobile app, called mContain, for download by residents of the greater metropolitan area of Memphis, Tennessee. Once downloaded and installed on a personal mobile device, the mContain app collects location traces and sends notifications to users if they have had a recent encounter with a COVID-19 positive individual. The app reduces the chance of community transmission by providing an early warning to users who may be at the risk of infection from a COVID-19 positive individual. The mContain app provides two primary alert services: it can give users crowding information and provide notification to users who have had contact with a COVID-19-positive individual. The crowding alert feature provides information that should encourage social distancing within the community, indicating concentrations of users. The contact alert is expected to anonymously reduce community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and other infectious diseases. The data necessary to inform the app about positive test results is collected voluntarily.

Warnings Against Fraud: The FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning letter to one company for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products, as part of the agency’s effort to protect consumers. The seller warned, Earth Angel Oils, offers essential oil products that are unapproved and misbranded drugs for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. There are currently no FDA-approved products to prevent or treat COVID-19. Consumers concerned about COVID-19 should consult with their health care provider.

Diagnostics Update to Date: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has worked with more than 315 test developers who have said they will be submitting emergency use authorization (EUA) requests to FDA for COVID-19 tests. To date, 36 emergency use authorizations have been issued for COVID-19 tests. The FDA has been notified that more than 190 laboratories have begun testing under the policies set forth in our COVID-19 Policy for Diagnostic Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019 during the Public Health Emergency Guidance. The FDA also continues to keep its COVID-19 Diagnostics FAQ up to date.

Summary of FDA Actions: The FDA has posted a new “At-a-Glance Summary” that captures the agency’s major activities in the fight against COVID-19. The agency intends to regularly update this resource on efforts related to medical products and equipment, vaccines and therapeutics, food supply and more.

PPE and Supplies
Expanding Ventilator Supply: HHS announced a new contract for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act (DPA), to General Electric (GE), in partnership with Ford. GE’s contract, at a total contract price of $336 million, is for 50,000 ventilators to be produced by July 13. In total, combined with contracts announced this month, HHS has finalized contracts to produce or acquire more than 41,000 ventilators by the end of May, and over 187,000 ventilators by the end of the year.

Reuse of N-95 Respirators: NIH released results of their study that validates decontamination methods for re-use of N95 respirators. N95 respirators can be decontaminated effectively and maintain functional integrity for up to three uses, according to National Institutes of Health scientists. The study was conducted in a controlled laboratory setting and the findings are not yet peer-reviewed but are being shared to assist the public health response to COVID-19. Decontamination methods tested included vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), 70-degree Celsius dry heat, ultraviolet light, and 70% ethanol spray. The authors concluded that VHP was the most effective decontamination method, because no virus could be detected after only a 10-minute treatment. UV and dry heat were acceptable decontamination procedures as long as the methods are applied for at least 60 minutes.

Decontaminating Respirators: The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of Stryker Instrument’s Sterizone VP4 Sterilizer1 N95 Respirator Decontamination Cycle for use in decontaminating compatible N95 and N95-equivalent respirators for single-user reuse by healthcare personnel.

Information for Specific Populations
Crisis Standards of Care and Civil Rights Law: ASPR released a document on crisis standards of care which is intended to provide information about crisis standards of care in a resource constrained setting, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, to state, local, tribal, and territorial policymakers, healthcare systems leadership, and other decision-makers. Certain jurisdictions may be developing or implementing potentially discriminatory policies that negatively impact vulnerable populations (e.g., older adults and persons with disabilities). These policies are addressing the application of crisis standards of care in resource-constrained settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. OCR also announced that they have resolved a complaint filed against the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) after PDH revised its Interim Pennsylvania Crisis Standards of Care for Pandemic Guidelines (CSC Guidelines) to ensure that persons will not be discriminated against based on disability if providers in the state were to begin triaging life-saving health care services. This is the second enforcement action OCR has taken since OCR issued a Bulletin reminding covered entities of the continued applicability of civil rights laws during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Considerations for Pharmacies: CDC updated their guidance on Considerations for Pharmacies. Recommendations include: everyone entering the pharmacy should wear a face covering, regardless of symptoms; cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance; pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should always wear a facemask while they are in the pharmacy for source control; postponement and reschedule delivery of some routine clinical preventive services, such as adult immunizations, which require face to face encounters; and special considerations for clinics that are co-located in pharmacies.

FAQs on FFCRA and CARES Act: CMS posted an FAQ document with multiple questions on how the relief legislation applies to Medicare and Medicaid programs. Topics include the emergency period, new optional Medicaid group, benefits and cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and diagnostic services, implications for CHIP, BHP and other questions.

FAQs for Clinicians: CDC has updated their FAQ document for healthcare professionals. Topics include COVID-19 risk, transmission, testing, diagnosis and notification, treatment and management, obstetrical care, drug and investigational therapies, waste management and additional resources.

Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting Vehicles and Facilities: CDC released recommendations for Non-emergency Transport Vehicles that May Have Transported Passengers with Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19. People who are known or suspected to have COVID-19 may use non-emergency vehicle services, such as passenger vans, accessible vans, and cars, for transportation to receive essential medical care. The guidance includes recommendations on how to clean different areas of the vehicle and at a minimum, recommends owners to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in the vehicle at the beginning and end of each shift and between transporting passengers who are visibly sick. CDC’s guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility includes everyday steps, steps when someone is sick, and considerations for employers.

CMS Hospital Payment and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Waivers: CMS issued guidance implementing the CARES Act that impacts inpatient prospective payment system hospital payment and provides new flexibilities for inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act increases payment for Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) inpatient hospital care attributable to COVID-19. CMS provided guidance for IPPS hospitals and LTCHs on how to code claims to receive the higher payment. The CARES Act also waives the requirement that Medicare Part A fee-for-service patients treated in inpatient rehabilitation facilities receive at least 15 hours of therapy per week. During the public health emergency period, LTCHs will be paid at higher rates and will not be penalized for accepting patients that would not typically be treated at an LTCH. CMS also updated their summary of emergency declaration blanket waivers for healthcare providers.

Guidances to Assist with Grief Management: ASPR has posted resource documents to assist with the management of grief. The resources include Tips for Healthcare Workers Managing Grief and Recommendations for How to Handle the Death of a Colleague during COVID-19,

Resources for Programs Providing Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: The document lists guidance and resources for in-patient and out-patient programs and facilities providing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). These resources are available to provide continuity of care and to help mitigate the potential surge of patients seeking inhospital treatment. Resources are continually changing; visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) COVID-19 website for the most recent information.

Suspension of 2% Payment Adjustment for Medicare FFS Claims: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued guidance implementing Section 3709 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which temporarily suspends the 2% payment adjustment currently applied to all Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) claims due to sequestration. The guidance notes that the suspension is effective for FFS claims with dates of service from May 1 through December 31, 2020.

CMS Waiver Flexibility Update: CMS has approved 52 COVID- related emergency waivers, 31 state amendments, 11 COVID-related Medicaid Disaster Amendments and one CHIP COVID-related Disaster Amendment in record time. CMS recently approved two additional COVID-related emergency Medicaid waivers, delivering urgent regulatory relief to ensure the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands can quickly and effectively care for their most vulnerable citizens. CMS also approved COVID-related Medicaid Disaster Amendments that bring relief to Arkansas and Rhode Island. These approvals help to ensure that states have the tools they need to combat COVID-19 through a wide variety of state plan flexibilities. CMS continues to authorize amendments to ensure emergency flexibilities in programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities, including most recently for Colorado, Louisiana and Nevada. These approved flexibilities support President Trump’s commitment to a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.

Not HHS, but relevant for healthcare:
FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just approved an Order to create a $200 million telehealth program to support healthcare providers responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, using funds appropriated as part of the CARES Act. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will help healthcare providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services. Applications from healthcare providers will be accepted and processed on a rolling basis as soon as application forms are published in the Federal Register. Details on information that applications must include are on page 14 of the Order.
Stay safe, colleagues. If you have questions, reach out to [email protected] .

Laura

Laura C. Trueman
Director, Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20201
[email protected]

A Note About This HHS Email: On Monday, March 23rd, I started sending out a daily email bundling the many COVID-19-related items coming out across the HHS enterprise. It is not exhaustive, but close. Judging by requests to be added to the distribution list and other feedback, this seems to be meeting a real need – and saving many from having to check multiple sites (CDC, FDA, CMS, and our main site, for example). If you started getting this and don’t want it, just let me know. I will do this as long as volume and need for information dictates.

If You Want a Broader View of the Entire Administration’s Work on COVID-19: Email the White House Office of Public Liaison — which sends out a nightly recap– and ask to be added to their list. Email: [email protected]

By Zachary Sherwood and Brandon Lee | April 17, 2020 07:01AM ET | Bloomberg Government

Days after insisting he had absolute authority to steer the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump instead handed over the keys to governors and businesses.

Trump issued guidelines yesterday for states to consider as they decide whether to relax stay-at-home orders and other social-distancing measures enacted to curb the spread of the virus. The brief document lays out a three-stage process and leaves many difficult decisions to statehouses.

The president set no deadlines, demanded no particular action and offered little federal assistance. One page of the document says that states undertaking a resumption of normal life should plan to “independently” secure protective gear and medical equipment for their hospitals. Businesses are advised to come up with their own protocols for temperature checks, protective gear, sanitation and testing.

“A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution,” Trump said yesterday at his daily White House news conference. “Now that we have passed the peak in new cases, we’re starting our life again.”

Trump said that 29 of the 50 states qualified to begin the reopening process his administration laid out or would be ready soon, naming Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. He agreed with a questioner who suggested Hawaii.

In the best case, a state could abandon all but minimal social distancing practices within a month, under the plan. Yet it’s not clear whether most governors, business owners and workers share the president’s optimism that it will soon be safe to risk easing measures that only now appear to be slowing the virus’s spread in some hot spots, while cases and deaths continue to rise across the country.

In North Dakota and Wyoming, the number of cases is still rising, which may disqualify those states from attempting to reopen under Trump’s guidelines. Hawaii Governor David Ige, a Democrat, is “working with his cabinet and others to determine what specific milestones will be needed for Hawaii to begin a phased reopening,” spokeswoman Cindy McMillan said.

McMillan said the state does not yet believe it meets the federal criteria. Read more from Josh Wingrove, Justin Sink and Polly Mosendz.

U.S. to Lead Global GDP Contraction: Few countries in the world have been spared from the devastating economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. But no economy will have a bigger impact on global growth than the U.S. The leader in confirmed Covid-19 cases, the U.S. is expected to account for 31% of this year’s decline in worldwide gross domestic product, according to Bloomberg calculations using International Monetary Fund data. That’s more than twice the country’s share of global output. Overall, the IMF forecasts the glo bal economy will contract 3%, the most in almost a century, before soaring almost 6% in 2021. Read more from Alex Tanzi and Wei Lu.

What to Watch Today

The House holds a pro forma session at 11 a.m.

Trump holds a phone call with faith leaders on the economy.

The White House holds a Coronavirus Task Force briefing at 5 p.m.

Economic Actions & Industry Pains

SBA’s Response Was Swift, But Not Smooth: Congress handed the colossal task of quickly getting $349 billion in pandemic relief for mom-and-pop firms to a small, understaffed federal agency that was overwhelmed from the program’s start.

Yet, after a glitch-plagued beginning, the Small Business Administration managed to approve applications and guarantee all the loans in just 13 days, dwarfing its previous record of $30 billion spread out over an entire year. With the funds now tapped out, many businesses remain in the cold, while some that received loans are still wondering when money will move into their accounts.

Questions remain about the handling of loans, including potential inequities between states — for example, why Texas got more than California, according to the most recent figures available — and whether the rapid pace at which money is being approved raises questions about the potential for fraud. Read more from Mark Niquette and Naomi Nix.

Congress is debating adding an additional $250 billion to PPP, and small business advocates are calling on lawmakers to add more money for the disaster loan program as well. About 100 members of Congress signed a letter yesterday to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza with concerns about the EIDL program, saying they would strongly back a request for more funding. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters he supports adding money to the program, and a Senate Democratic bill floated last week included money for it.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin yesterday afternoon, and talks are ongoing, according to a statement released last night by a Schumer spokesperson. Democrats wants changes to the small business loan program, as well as more funding for hospitals and state and local government. Read more from Mark Niquette and Jennifer Jacobs.

  • Meanwhile, local and state governments renewed calls for federal support. At least $250 billion for local government relief is needed from Congress, the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors said yesterday in letters to Congress and the Trump administration. Three Democratic governors from Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in a letter to Trump backed a bipartisan call from the National Governors Association for $500 billion to support the states during the crisis, in addition to funds for local governments, Sam McQuillan and Michael J. Bologna report.

States will likely opt out of extending the full swath of federal pandemic relief to their businesses, as they face shuttered state houses and potentially limited benefits. The federal tax code changes in the latest stimulus law are meant to help businesses suffering from economic upheaval during the pandemic. Included in the package was a temporary increase of the tax code Section 163(j) limit on deductions for business interest payments to 50% from 30% of adjusted taxable income. Read more from Tripp Baltz, Michael J. Bologna and John Herzfeld.

Please find below articles and updates as we receive them to update you on COVID-19.

President Trump today announced he is directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend all evictions and foreclosures through the end of April 2020. This follows similar actions by governors and mayors in several jurisdictions across the country. Nationally, at least 35 jurisdictions announced eviction moratoriums in light of the spread of COVID-19 with more considering legislation or mandate by judicial action or law enforcement. No details of the President’s order have been provided yet, but we have been assured that guidance is coming soon.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. To clarify, the FHFA foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage.

We will keep you apprised as this situation develops and are continually updating our COVID-19 resources and guidance.

The Fed responded on Sunday to the deteriorating economic outlook and market disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.
3.19.20

The White House today released the framework of a $1 trillion stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan, which addresses the economic impact of the pandemic, follows an $8.3 billion stimulus package from earlier in the month and comes as Congress continues to debate the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The framework has four major sections.

Section 1 includes $200 billion in loans to severely distressed industries, including the airline industry.

Section 2 includes steps to stabilize the U.S. money market mutual fund industry.

Section 3 includes half a trillion dollars in direct “economic impact” payments to individual taxpayers to be paid out in two installments. Payment sizes would be based on income and family sizes.

Section 4 includes $300 billion loans for small businesses through the creation of a “small business interruption loan program.”

Read the full framework proposal here.

 

3.17.20

The Federal Government is working to pass an emergency relief bill in response to the coronavirus.  The House already passed a relief bill, and it is our understanding the Senate is planning on passing it as well in the coming days to give relief as soon as possible.  Leader McConnell announced at a press conference this afternoon that the Senate is creating a task force and will be proposing additional legislation, originating in the Senate, to further stimulate the economy and address concerns from the House relief bill.

The US Chamber of Commerce created a very helpful summary to help businesses understand the proposal to help deal with the current crisis.  Click here to read the summary. 

In the coming days, we will keep everyone posted on the status of these bills. Leader McConnell committed today that the Senate will not adjourn, and will stay at work, until this is addressed.

Early last week, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson was added to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. All federal agencies are working aggressively on a multi-layered, cross-agency public health response to this evolving situation.

Our partners at NAA have encouraged Multifamily owners and agents, and Public Housing Authorities, and all rental owners to make the information below available to residents. They further encourage Multifamily owners, agents, Performance Based Contract Administrators, FHA lenders, and all stakeholders to make this same information available to their employees:

​Stakeholders are reminded to ensure that their responses remain faithful to obligations under the Constitution, Fair Housing Act and related regulations. Exigencies associated with important and timely response to issues surrounding COVID-19 are not the basis for unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or familial status.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is currently monitoring a rapidly evolving outbreak of coronavirus, (COVID-19), which is causing respiratory illness in populations across the globe, including in the U.S. The CDC and the World Health Organization have now designated the outbreak as a pandemic.

As cases of the novel coronavirus, (COVID-19) spread across the country, apartment firms need to prepare for potential impact to their communities and to address employee and resident concerns of potential exposure at their properties or workplaces. They also need to take measures to help stop the spread of the virus.

To help them do that, NMHC has compiled an overview of suggested apartment owner preparations and considerations. NMHC recognizes that the broad array of company types, sizes and geographic locations that make up the apartment industry discourages a one-size-fits-all approach to planning.

Also note that this overview is not to be construed as legal guidance. Instead, it is meant to be a starting point for your company-specific plan. We encourage firms to seek expert consultation in the development of their plan to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Given the fast nature evolution of this situation, NMHC encourages firms to monitor our “Coronavirus Resources for Apartment Firms” landing page, which includes links to resources from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Labor (DOL), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Housing and Urban Development and other organizations. We strongly recommend regularly visiting these sites for the latest news on this outbreak.

We also recommend firms sign up for NMHC’s Emergency Preparedness Listserv to both ask questions and learn from what other firms are sharing. More information is available here.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE HERE.

The National Apartment Association recently did a webinar with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). Click here to see link to the FAQs from the webinar as well as here for an updated as needed link to the COVID-19 information on the NAA website.

SUMMARY OF BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Some suggested Best Management Practices:

  1. Build in redundancy – make sure multiple people can handle situations based upon your organizational size in case of sickness or quarantine.
  2. For Residents: make payment agreements with those who cannot pay, similar to when the government shutdown occurred.
  3. Sanitizing: consider focused efforts on cleaning handrails and doorknobs (high touch areas).
  4. Leasing: minimize interactions with applicants and residents.
    1. Consider virtual tours and interviews.
    2. Utilize Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc.
    3. Allow residents to notify management of sickness or self-quarantining.
  5. Maintenance: Minimize being inside units.
    1. Limit unit entry to emergency repairs.
    2. Focus on common area repairs.
    3. Communicate with residents on the definition of emergency.
  6. Community Rooms and centers: with limits being set by health professional for the number of people gathered, seriously consider if the rooms should be open at all.
  7. Move-ins move outs.  With fair housing in mind, set your policy and stick to it.
  8. Increased deliveries – now is the time to support non-interactive deliveries, be aware of those who may have difficulty in retrieving packages.
  9. Communicate with residents and staff!   Especially about reduced office/staff hours.
  10. Staff: make health a priority- cleaning, and not coming to work if sick or exposed.

Above all: please follow CDC, federal, state, and local guidance, including posting signage as to what you are doing, and where people can get more information.

Along those lines, please consider:

  • Apply for Small Business Administration loans if needed, or at least get on their radar.
  • Review your disaster preparedness plan, update accordingly with home and cell numbers.
  • Be prepared for text and email, as phone circuits may become overloaded.

Many cities are moving to a triage process for inspections, both inspections for code issues and Section 8 inspections, with federal inspections suspended.

By Sarah Jarvis

Law360 (March 12, 2020, 11:19 PM EDT) — UPDATED March 17, 2020, 3:37 PM EDT | As courts across the country take measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, some are restricting access and altering their procedures. Here is a roundup of changes from Law360.

TAX UPDATE

On Friday, March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency over the virus, setting the stage for the Treasury and IRS to offer administrative tax relief. Some of the solutions being discussed include extending deadlines for tax return filing and tax payments, waiving penalties for late payments and interest, and expediting amended tax return processing.

In addition, the House and Senate are voting on a bill to provide tax cuts for employers offering emergency sick leave. It does not include the payroll tax cut sought by the President, but it does require insurers to cover virus testing and it provides enhanced unemployment benefits and increased food aid for children, among other things. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week, and a Presidential signature after that is all but certain.

The President has announced that he will instruct Treasury to allow individuals and businesses that are negatively affected by the Coronavirus to defer their tax payments beyond the April 15 deadline. Individuals and businesses will have an extra 90 days to pay the IRS if they owe additional income tax for 2019.

Normally, taxpayers owe the amount due by April 15. But as part of the government’s response to the Coronavirus, individual and small business filers will be able to defer payments of up to $1 million and corporations can defer up to $10 million — without incurring interest or penalties. Please be aware this is not an extension of time to file extension requests or tax returns, but does provide some relief for those who owe tax.

It is important to remember that all bills must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate and be signed into law by the President – many things being discussed in the media have not yet become laws and until they are, the current laws stand including the due dates for tax returns and extension requests.

Congress Finalizes COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Act: Prepare To Provide Paid Sick Leave And FMLA

3.18.20

The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act today, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded family and medical leave act to the nation’s employers. An earlier version of this Act (H.R. 6201) was previously passed by the House in the early hours of Saturday, March 14 before being significantly altered late Monday, March 16. The bill now awaits President Trump’s signature, which is expected later today or tomorrow as he has already publicly supported the bill. Once he signs the bill, it will become effective in 15 days.

[Ed. Note: The president signed the legislation on the evening of March 18, which means the leave provisions will go into effect on April 2.]

This Act includes many provisions which apply to employers, such as paid sick leave for employees impacted by COVID-19 and those serving as caregivers for individuals with COVID-19. While the Act also contains several provisions to increase funding for familiar benefit programs, like WIC and SNAP, this legal alert summarizes the key benefit provisions of the Act which affect employers.

There are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law.

For an explanation and overview visit https://nationalreia.org/covid-19-updates/covid-19-employee-and-employer-information/.

You can find the document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a technical explanation of Division G, “Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave,” of H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the “bill”) as received in the Senate on March 17, 2020. Click here to see details.