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Congress, State of Utah Take Action to Sustain Economy in the Face of Coronavirus Pandemic

30 March 2020

Congress and the State of Utah have taken action to provide financial assistance and economic support to assist with COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic disruption that the virus left in its wake. We know that Utah’s clean energy businesses, our outdoor recreation industry, local governments, and our thriving civic and non-profit sectors are all feeling the tremendous negative impacts. Utah Clean Energy will be doing our part to share the word about resources to help soften the blow and to sustain our economy at this challenging time.

The U.S. Congress has passed the massive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) which authorizes spending of $2.4 trillion on loans and aid to small and large businesses; aid to hospitals, state and local governments, and schools; direct financial assistance to families; funding for disaster relief; and expanded unemployment insurance funding that helps self-employed individuals and contract employees, among other provisions.

The Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) has summarized some of the key provisions of the CARES Act relevant to small and medium businesses with fewer than 500 employees. You can download a copy of their notes here. The key pieces for small businesses and employees include:

  • $350 billion for a “Paycheck Protection Program” for small businesses and non-profits with zero-fee loan guarantees of up to $10 million per entity to cover the costs of up to 8 weeks of payroll if the business retains its employees and their salaries as well as major operating expenses. Loans may be forgiven if the employer maintains employees on payroll. This will be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Treasury Department.

  • $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Grants that will advance $10,000 to small businesses and non-profits that apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the Small Business Administration. This $10,000 is a grant that does not need to be repaid, even if the application for an EIDL is rejected.

  • $17 billion for debt relief for small businesses through SBA microloans.

  • $260 billion in expanded unemployment insurance benefits, providing up to 13 weeks of benefits with an extra $600 per week per recipient. It also seeks to incentivize employers to retain employees at lower hours rather than lay off workers through a “short-term compensation” program.

  • A refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid during the COVID-19 pandemic if operations were fully or partially suspended because of the virus.

For a quick summary of the entire CARES Act, see this graphic.

Additional State and Federal Resources

We will seek to update this page regularly as we learn about more action and additional resources.