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The original item was published from 1/12/2021 9:54:37 AM to 3/1/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Business News

Posted on: January 12, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Important updates for Brookline businesses

EXTENSION OF BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS

Last week, the Baker administration made an announcement related to the extension of temporary restrictions for businesses. The capacity limits and gathering restrictions announced in December (and slated to expire on January 10th) will be extended until at least January 24th. Please see mass.gov/reopening for additional details regarding this extension. 

DEPARTMENT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (DUA) GUIDANCE

DUA is currently implementing unemployment-related provisions from the most recent federal stimulus. Key details on these programs can be found here to assist claimants with questions about their continuation of benefits.  

STATEWIDE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY PROGRAMS 

Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced three new programs to boost internet connectivity statewide, including a subsidy program to assist job seekers in the MassHire system that are facing a technology barrier. In addition, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at the MassTech Collaborative will expand a WiFi hotspot program statewide, delivering free high-speed access points to Gateway Cities, helping expand internet accessibility in areas hard-hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about these programs in the recent press release

MGCC’S SECTOR-SPECIFIC BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM 

A reminder that the Sector-Specific Business Grant Program will stop accepting applications at the end of this week (January 15th). Please continue to remind businesses in your memberships about this opportunity and deadline. 

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM UPDATES
The Small Business Administration recently released new guidance governing the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program. This guidance comes in the form of an Interim Final Rule, Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans,  and Guidance on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-Owned Business Concerns. In addition, see the press release for highlights of the programmatic changes made to PPP via the recently-passed federal stimulus. 

Several key program changes include:

  • Allows past recipients to receive a "Second Draw" from PPP
  • Makes 501(c)6 nonprofits (like Chambers of Commerce) eligible applicants, among other types of organizations
  • Allows borrowers to set their covered loan period to any length from 8-24 weeks to allow additional flexibility
  • Expands what is a eligible forgivable expense to include costs, including adaptive operations expenditures, property damage costs, technology operations, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures 
  • Clarifies that PPP loans are tax-free and eligible expenses paid with PPP proceeds are tax-deductible 
  • Caps First Draw loans at $10 million and Second Draw loans at $2 million
  • Allows Accommodations and Food Service businesses to obtain loans calculated at 3.5x average monthly payroll

As with prior implementations of PPP, businesses can apply for a forgivable loan via SBA lenders and should speak to their lender to discuss an application. Effective today, community lenders (community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions, certified development companies, and microloan intermediaries, more here) are able to offer PPP loans to applicants that have not yet received a loan; on January 13th, these lenders will be able to offer loans to “Second Draw” applicants. All lenders will be authorized to offer the program shortly; the date has not yet been announced. For additional information on PPP, forms and other information, visit www.sba.gov/ppp

VACCINE ROLLOUT PLAN 

The Department of Public Health has published a plan for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with updates on the status of the rollout in Massachusetts. See here for information related to the vaccine; you can also sign up to receive updates on the vaccine here

 

BROOKLINE BUDGET FORUM (January 14 @ 7pm)

Brookline residents are invited to a virtual information session next week on the town’s budgeting process. The Brookline Budget Forum will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, and will serve as an opportunity for residents to hear directly from Kleckner as he provides insight on municipal finance and the town’s annual budget process. To register and access the online event, click here. The meeting will also be broadcast by Brookline Interactive Group online here and on BIG’s Civic Channel — Comcast channel 23 and RCN channels 15/613. The event will also include an early outlook on the town’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget as its development gets underway, and residents will have an opportunity to provide general input on town budget priorities. “The development of the town’s budget is a lengthy process that is most successful when residents are engaged and informed,” Kleckner said. “This session is intended to de-mystify the budget and provide a base level understanding of how the town funds municipal and school services. I encourage residents to take this opportunity to learn more about how the budget comes together and to offer their input on what they believe the town’s priorities should be in the coming year.” Over the course of the next several months, the budget will be outlined in greater detail prior to its eventual presentation before Town Meeting for approval.

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