Business Resources during COVID-19

Helping Businesses Thrive


Whether your business has been in Ashland for many years or are just getting started, we want to work with you to make sure your business has the opportunity to thrive. Our local businesses are an important part of our community which help makes Ashland a great place to live and work. The Town of Ashland wants to hear from you! Please let us know how we can help your business succeed and continue to be an important partner in Ashland’s economic landscape! 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is now available


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is now available for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

Key PPP updates include:

PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;

PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;

The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;

The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;

Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and

Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:

Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;

Has no more than 300 employees; and

Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

The new guidance released includes:

PPP Guidance from SBA Administrator Carranza on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-owned Business Concerns;

Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by Economic Aid Act; and

Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans.

For more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses, visit sba.gov/ppp or treasury.gov/cares.

 

December 23- Baker-Polito Administration Announces $668 Million Small Business Relief Package

The Baker-Polito Administration launched a $668 million program to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program in part relies on the pending federal COVID-19 relief bill recently passed by Congress. Regardless of the developments at the federal level, the Baker-Polito Administration will start releasing millions in new funding to restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses throughout the Commonwealth as soon as next week.   

Earlier this week, the Administration announced nearly $49 million in grants through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) COVID-19 Small Business Program to support over 1,158 small businesses. More than 10,000 applicants had sought relief in this grant round.

 Additional grants will be made available to eligible small businesses through MGCC. The Small Business Grant Program was established in the fall, and currently has a pool of eligible applicants awaiting funding. This additional funding will allow the Administration to award more of those pending applicants. Eligible businesses that already applied to the program, but were not funded due to limited funds available, will be prioritized for funding first and do not need to reapply.

The funds will also be used to stand up an additional grant program at MGCC. This program will target the industries most hard-hit during the pandemic.

 Eligible industries for the new program include:

  • Restaurants, bars, caterers
  • Indoor recreation and entertainment establishments
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Event-support professionals (photographers, videographers, etc.)
  • Personal services
  • Retail

The new business relief program would offer grants up to $75,000, but not more than three months’ operating expenses, to be used for employee wage and benefits costs, space-related costs, and debt service obligations.

The online application portal for the new program will open on Thursday, December 31, and will close on Friday, January 15. Awards are expected to be announced in early February.

More details on how to apply and eligibility requirements are available at www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org

 

FAQS for Businesses Facing COVID-19 Daily

If an employee is exposed to a positive case through close contact can we require a test prior to return to work even if asymptomatic?  You can’t mandate it but if the employee was exposed for more within 6ft. and more than 15 minutes of more cumulative time they must quarantine for 14 days regardless of a negative test. 

And how many days post exposure should they wait before testing? Anyone exposed to someone that tested positive for Covid should wait 5-8 days to be tested. If tested at 5 days and receiving a negative test that person should still quarantine for 14 days. If tested on day 8 with a PCR test after the exposure and are asymptomatic with a negative test, the last day of quarantine is day 10 and they can return to work at day 11.  Please note that exposure date is day 0.

What steps do I take if one of my employees tests positive?

  • Notify Ed Burman at the Board of Health by calling 508-532-7988 or email eburman@ashlandpd.org
  • You must close for deep cleaning.  You only have to remain closed until cleaning has occurred.
  • If any other staff were working they should be tested and not allowed to work until they have a negative test.  If any other employee is deemed a close contact which means within 6 feet for 15 minutes of more cumulative time they MUST remain out for 14 days from the exposure regardless if they have a negative test. If tested on day 8 with a PCR test after the exposure and are asymptomatic with a negative test, the last day of quarantine is day 10 and they can return to work at day 11.  Please note that exposure date is day 0.

What if I want to run a scenario by someone or have additional questions or concerns?

What's my capacity??


Do you need to calculate your occupancy to make sure you are in compliance with State guidelines as you reopen and as we navigate this new normal? 

Steps to calculate your capacity:

1. Take the square footage of each individual room
2. Divide the square footage by 15 (that is your occupancy)
3. Take 25% of occupancy to determine what the State allows

Be sure you are following the State's Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces including the state checklist. For that information CLICK HERE.


Baker-Polito Administration Announces Further Measures to Stop the Spread of COVID-19  -  Baker-Polito Administration Extends COVID-19 Capacity & Gathering Limits to January 24

Businesses must adhere to the following capacity limitations. The revised limits below supersede existing limits in the Phase 3, Step 1 Sector-Specific Protocols. Except for the specified adjustments to capacity limitations, all other terms of the COVID-19 gatherings order (including exceptions) and all sector-specific workplace safety rules remain unchanged. These limits are in effect until January 24th, 2021 unless further extended by the Governor.  

  • Gatherings (adjusting Order No. 57): 10 persons indoors, 25 persons outdoors, applies to both private homes and event venues and public spaces
  • Restaurants: 25% of seating capacity, workers/staff excluded from occupancy count, applies separately to indoor and outdoor capacity
  • Close Contact Personal Services: 25% capacity, workers/staff excluded from occupancy count
  • Indoor and Outdoor Events: 10 persons indoors, 25 persons outdoors, workers/staff excluded from occupancy count
  • Theaters and Performance Venues (Indoor performance venues remain closed): movie theaters at 25% capacity and maximum 50 people, outdoor performance venues at 25% capacity and maximum 25 people
  • Casinos: 25% capacity, with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to re-issue capacity rules as necessary
  • Office Spaces: 25% capacity
  • Places of Worship: 25%, workers/staff excluded from occupancy count
  • Retail Businesses: 25% capacity, workers/staff excluded from occupancy count
  • Driving and Flight Schools: 25% capacity 
  • Golf Facilities: 25% capacity, applies only to indoor spaces
  • Libraries: 25% capacity 
  • Operators of Lodgings: 25% capacity, applies only to common areas
  • Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Recreation Businesses: 25% capacity
  • Fitness Centers and Health Clubs: 25% capacity 
  • Museums / Cultural & Historical Facilities / Guided Tours by vehicles and vessels: 25% capacity
  • Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed: 25% capacity 
  • Common Areas in facilities subject to EEA-issued COVID-19 safety rules: 25% capacity, applies only to indoor spaces and excludes youth and amateur sports facilities

These new limitations do not impact Massachusetts public schools, which operate under separate guidance from the Commonwealth.

Where no licensed or permitted capacity allowance is on record and for any enclosed space within a larger facility, occupancy shall be limited to no more than 5 persons per 1,000 square feet.

For further information, please visit Mass.Gov/Reopening..
Learn More

Recent Previous Orders

December 9- Governor Baker Announces New Restrictions Statewide for Capacity, Mask Compliance and Distancing Due to Increased Cases, Hospitalizations

Learn More
Official Order

November 2- Baker-Polito Administration Announces Targeted Measures to Curb Rising COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations.

Early business closures,  revised gatherings, mask orders announced to disrupt the growth of COVID- 19 Cases  Learn More

Information by
Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board

Massachusetts Reopening Plan- Phase III Step 2

Beginning, Monday, October 5th for low-risk communities deemed "Yellow" or "Green" according to the Department of Public Health Weekly Reports, will enter Phase III Stage 2 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan. Additionally, this includes communities that have not been deemed "red", in at least three weeks of DPH reports.
Read more here

Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase III are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. As always, we recommend that businesses consult sector-specific protocols and the When Can My Business Reopen? pages at www.mass.gov/reopening.

COVID -19 SPECIFIC STANDARDS FOR SECTORS NOT OTHERWISE ADDRESSED

These COVID -19 Specific Standards for Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed establish minimum standards for any Phase I, Phase II, or Phase III enterprise that is permitted to re-open but is not specifically addressed by sector-specific COVID-19 safety standards. These Specific Standards for Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed are issued to provide owners and operators of enterprises and workers at those enterprises with instructions to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 as enterprises re-open.

For full checklist click this link: https://www.mass.gov/doc/phase-iii-step-1-for-sectors-not-otherwise-addressed-checklist/download

May 18th, 2020- Massachusetts Governor’s Office general business guidance

For establishments to reopen, the business must develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how its workplace will comply with these new regulations and will ensure the safety of employees and customers. Required Materials are located on mass.gov/reopening, and include:

  • COVID-19 control plan template – Template that satisfies the written control plan requirement for self-certification. This plan does not need to be submitted to an authority, but it must be retained on-premises in the event of an inspection. 
  • 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 Poster and Worker poster – 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
  • Reopening Massachusetts- general business guidance and access to all documents  Click Here
  • Full Reopening Advisory Board Report Click Here
  • When can my business reopen? Detailed industry reopening plan Click here
  • Gov. Baker’s Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards Click Here
  • Find Supply Vendors Click here
    _________________________________________________________
    Gov. Baker’s Four-Phased Reopening Plan  Click Here 
  • Gov. Baker’s reopening plan presentationClick Here

Local Information for Reopening your Business

Let us know you are reopening

In order for the town to stay informed of when businesses are opening, we are asking that you complete a short form when you are ready to open. Please CLICK HERE to access the short form for us to track your plans moving forward.

Outdoor Seating Regulations

View Town of Ashland’s Outdoor Seating Regulations

Purchase Safe Social Distancing Signage

Here are some suggested vendors:

Hot Plates Sign Company

Alltype Digital Graphics

Spyglass Professional Printing Service

CDC Guidelines for Re-Opening and Keeping your Place Safe

This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Reopening the country also strongly relies on public health strategies, including increased testing of people for the virus, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people. This plan is part of the larger United States Government plan external and focuses on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and can also be applied to your home.

Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces including your workplace, school, home, and business will require you to:

  • Develop your plan
  • Implement your plan
  • Maintain and revise your plan

CLICK HERE for more information

Follow CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes Click Here

Follow CDC’s Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation Click Here

Business Owner Resources

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
CLICK HERE for a full comprehensive look at the programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.

Employee Retention Tax Credit:  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. Private employers, including non-profits, carrying on a trade or business in 2020 are eligible if:  Operations have been partially or fully suspended as a result of orders from a governmental authority due to COVID-19, or Experience a decline in gross receipts by more than 50% in a quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019 (eligibility ends when gross receipts in a quarter exceed 80% compared to the same 2019 quarter).  Employers who receive a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan are not eligible for a tax credit.

For more information, click here.

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA is currently accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses, and private nonprofit organizations.

If you have already applied via the streamlined application portal, please do not resubmit your application.

To Apply CLICK HERE

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 EIDL Loans

Employer/ Employee Relations

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.[1] The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

Rapid Response Program: The Rapid Response program, which works closely with companies to avert layoffs and keep a skilled workforce engaged in the existing regional economy or industry; read more about how the Rapid Response Team can help businesses at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/rapid-response-layoff-aversion

Workshare: The WorkShare program, a tool to help employers avoid layoffs during a downturn – read more about WorkShare at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/workshare-information-for-employers

Unemployment
If you’re unemployed in Massachusetts, you may be eligible for resources to help you get back on your feet. Employers can also find information about the contributions they must make by law for their employees. https://www.mass.gov/topics/unemployment

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Virtual Town Halls 
Sign up for a town hall presentation on applying for unemployment assistance. https://www.mass.gov/forms/massachusetts-department-of-unemployment-assistance-dua-virtual-town-halls

Guidance and Directives for Businesses & Employers
Updated information regarding unemployment resources can be found here:
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives#businesses-&-employers-

Helpful Apps

Zip Whip - Zipwhip’s Texting for Business is the fast, easy and convenient way for businesses and customers to reach each other 

Motionvibe -Drives revenue and retention for fitness businesses and organizations in today’s highly competitive fitness industry. 

Streamyard - StreamYard is a live streaming studio in your browser. Interview guests, share your screen, and much more. Stream directly to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other platforms. 

Shopify - Sell anywhere, to anyone, with Shopify’s ecommerce platform and point of sale features.

For Restaurants:

Commission Free Online Order Platforms with a flat monthly fee.
ToastTab , ChowNow

Online Reservation system with digital notifications for Customers 
WaitlistOpenTable