Sep 22, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Facts and Resources

McGuireWoods Consulting has compiled the below information coming from Washington and state capitals in response to COVID-19 as it pertains to employers and businesses across industry sectors. Members of MWC’s federal public affairs team are closely following developments on Capitol Hill, and we will update information as news and insights become available.

MWC’s government relations professionals stand ready to help business owners and leaders navigate uncharted territory to identify and secure COVID-19 relief funding. Not only are we equipped to assist with funding applications, we also maintain long-standing relationships with high-ranking influencers who we can advocate before on behalf of our clients. Additionally, we are positioned to help companies identify procurement opportunities created as a result of federal and state funding for emergency services. Our economic development professionals stand ready to assist local and state economic development agencies to help businesses through this crisis. 

How We Can Help You

Federal Government Response

Coronavirus Response Timeline

$8.3 Billion Emergency Funding Bill

On March 5, Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to aid the fight against the coronavirus. The Department of Health and Human Services received $6.5 billion and was tasked with meting out $1 billion to states, cities and tribes within 30 days to aid in the local response to COVID-19. Congress also ordered the department to use $3.1 billion on medical supplies, vaccine-making and assistance to the U.S. health system. The State Department received $1.3 billion, and the Small Business Administration received an extra $20 million to increase the number of loans that go to businesses affected by the coronavirus. 

National Emergency

On March 13, the president declared a national emergency in relation to the coronavirus. The declaration provides the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with critical authorities to waive certain laws to enable telehealth, remote doctors’ visits, and hospital check-ins; licensing requirements so doctors from other states can provide services in areas with the greatest need; critical access hospital requirements to allow those hospitals to have more beds and longer lengths of stay; the requirement of a 3-day hospital stay prior to admission to a nursing home; rules hindering hospitals’ ability to bring additional physicians on board or obtain needed office space; and restrictions on where hospitals can care for patients.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 14, the House passed by 363-40, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to enhance the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and address the impact of the virus on personal safety and financial security. The legislation expands access to free testing, provides $1 billion in food aid, and extends sick leave benefits. After negotiations between Speaker Pelosi and the administration, the House passed by unanimous consent (UC) a resolution to make several revisions to the legislation. The Senate passed the bill 90-8 on March 18 and it was signed into law by President Trump.     

Executive Orders, Defense Production Act

CARES Act

On March 27, Congress passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The legislation includes direct assistance to taxpayers and families, expanded unemployment insurance, a retention tax credit for employers, hundreds of billions in loans and grants to small and large businesses across the country and $340 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations.

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act passed the House on April 23. The $484 billion bill includes over $320 billion in additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion of which is set aside for institutions with assets less than $50 billion, split evenly between institutions with assets of less than $10 billion and those with assets between $10-50 billion. The bill also includes:

  • $60 billion for additional Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program loans and grants.
  • $75 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • $25 billion for testing split between the states and several federal agencies.
  • $1 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), $1.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $1 billion for biodefense, $22 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and $750 million for tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health organizations.

On June 4, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, sending it to the President for his signature. The bill reforms the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to allow forgiveness for expenses beyond the eight week covered period to 24 weeks.

Other Relief Measures

On May 18, the House passed the HEROES Act. The $3 trillion phase 4 coronavirus response legislation was intended to serve as a starting point for negotiations, which have since stalled. See also a one-pager and a section-by-section summary. An outline of the state and local funding provisions is here.

On July 27, Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) announced the Republicans’ Phase 4 relief proposal, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act.

On September 10, The Senate voted 52-47 to consider Republicans’ Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Business Act, short of the 60 votes necessary to move forward. 

On September 17, Speaker Pelosi said the House will remain in session until Congress reaches an agreement on another round of coronavirus relief legislation. In the meantime, the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled a $2 trillion proposal intended “to inspire negotiators to return to the table.” Committee chairs issued a joint statement rejecting the Caucus’ proposal, saying it “falls short of what is needed to save lives and boost the economy.”

 

Government Assistance, Tax and Relief Programs

Federal Government Assistance

Economic Development Assistance

Please see examples below of state and local tax remittance waivers and extensions, state unemployment insurance policies and best practices states and localities are implementing to help businesses. These examples are provided as a template for others to use. 

State Tax Remittance Waivers and Extensions

 

State Unemployment Insurance Policies

 

Local Tax Remittance Waivers and Extensions

 

Private Grants to Impacted Businesses

 

Economic Development Incentives Deferrals

Government Business Reopening Funding Programs

 

 

Best Practices for Helping Businesses

As a site selector with a national practice, I get newsletters and updates from literally hundreds of economic development organizations from around the country. In normal times, those are helpful in staying on top of trends in workforce, tax policy, and new projects. In times like this, I’m seeing many great ideas on how various communities are helping impacted businesses through the COVID-19 related challenges. Here are some links to some of the best ideas I’m seeing around the country which others may want to mimic. – Chris Lloyd, Senior Vice President and Director of MWC's Infrastructure and Economic Development team

Webinars

Healthcare

HEROES Act

CARES Act

CMS Information

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued temporary waivers and new rules to provide the healthcare system with additional flexibility to respond to the coronavirus. The actions fall into four categories - increasing hospital capacity, expanding the healthcare workforce, reducing paperwork and expanding telehealth in Medicare.

Telehealth

Supply Chain

Education

On March 20, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will waive standardized testing requirements for K-12 schools this year. The Department is also setting federal student loan interest rates to zero percent and will allow students to defer student loan payments for at least 60 days. 

The Department had previously eased rules on colleges and universities amid coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, offering flexibility on higher education regulations as campus closures continue. The guidelines seek to alleviate concerns around enrollment requirements and maintaining financial aid eligibility. On April 1, the Department proposed new rules to govern distance learning for higher education students. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced flexibilities to allow meal service during school closures. As of March 18, the USDA granted waiver approvals to all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico to enable Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors to serve meals in a non-congregate setting and at school sites during the coronavirus outbreak. President Trump announced that the government would waive federal student loan interest until further notice.  

Congressional Action

The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) contains several provisions related to education.  The U.S. Department of Education will receive $30.9 billion total, of which $30.75 billion will go directly to states, local districts and institutions of higher education "to help schools, students, teachers, and families with immediate needs related to coronavirus." Those funds include: 

Full details on the education provisions can be found in MWC's update on the coronavirus and its impact on education.

Learn more about private equity-backed education platforms and assistance from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund here

The Department of Education announced $13.2 billion in CARES Act emergency relief funds is available to state and local education agencies to support continued learning for K-12 students whose educations are disrupted by COVID-19. Secretary of Education DeVos also said that colleges and universities with large endowments should not apply for CARES Act relief funds. She further called on Congress “to change the law to ensure no additional taxpayer funds be allocated to elite, wealthy institutions.”

Reopening

Webinars

State and Local Action on COVID-19

Florida | Georgia | Illinois | North Carolina | South Carolina | Texas | Virginia

Webinars

State Allocations and Reporting Requirements for CARES Act Funding

MWC's National Practice Team Helps Business Navigate States' Reopening Plans

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., McGuireWoods Consulting’s National Practice team has been helping clients monitor and interpret governors’ COVID-related executive orders, and where necessary, conduct outreach and engage governors’ offices. Our team successfully worked on this around governors’ shelter-in-place orders and are now helping clients work with governors’ offices to expeditiously re-open and adhere to state regulations. 

Status of State Legislative Sessions

Review our state-by-state chart for full details on the status of each state's legislative session, as well as each state's budget. 

Relevant Resources

MWC Federal Contacts

 Amanda Armistead  Hill_Edward

 Amanda Armistead, Federal Government Relations

 

 Edward Hill, Federal Government Relations

 

 Stephanie Kennan  Scott Frein

 Stephanie Kennan, Healthcare

 

 Scott Frein, Education

 

 Martin_Tucker  Genevieve McGroarty
 Tucker Martin, Crisis Communications  Gena McGroarty, Crisis Communications

MWC State Contacts

 Sean_Stafford  sara clements

 Sean Stafford, Florida

 

 Sara Clements, Florida

 

 Kent Gaffney  Michael Shelnutt

 Kent Gaffney, Illinois

 

 Michael Shelnutt, Georgia

 

 Kerri Burke  Brian Flynn

 Kerri Burke, North Carolina

 

 Brian Flynn, South Carolina

 

 Holly Deshields  Michael Thomas
 Holly Deshields, Texas  Michael Thomas, Virginia

 

MWC Economic Development Contacts

 Chris Lloyd  Benton Blaine

 Chris Lloyd

 

 Benton Blaine

 

MWC Crisis Communications

 Mark Hubbard  Mike Reynold

 Mark Hubbard

 

 Mike Reynold

 

 Ginny Boland  Chad Bernard
 Ginny Boland Chad Bernard