Governor Asks SBA for Declaration of Economic Disaster

Date: March 18, 2020

Unemployment benefits expanded as some businesses ordered to close

Monday, March 16, 2020: Governor Whitmer today formally called upon the U.S. Small Business Administration for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for Michigan. The move would free up low-interest loans for small businesses.

The declaration is necessary so that small businesses suffering from economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can access low-interest federal loans being made available through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA announced the special low-interest federal disaster loans to help small business with working capital needs. It’s expected that low sales and increased expenses will squeeze small business margins.

The Governor also took the following additional steps:

Most Public Spaces Ordered Closed:

By executive order, bars and restaurants (other than for delivery and carryout), cafes, coffee houses, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gyms, fitness/exercise studios, spas and casinos are ordered closed until March 30. The restrictions do not apply to office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores and providers of medical equipment and supplies, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers and industrial and manufacturing facilities.

Unemployment Benefits Expanded:

By executive order, unemployment benefit eligibility has been expanded through April 14 for workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, like child care due to school closures or carrying for a loved one who becomes ill. The expansion is also included for workers who are sick, quarantined or whose immune system is compromised and do not have access to paid leave time or are laid off. First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined are also eligible for unemployment benefits.

Under the executive order, benefits would also be extended from 20 to 26 weeks, the application eligibility period would be increased from 14 to 28 days, and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.

An employer or employing unit will not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations such as those included in executive order closing public spaces such as bars, restaurants other than for carryout and delivery, gyms, movie theaters, and others.

Meanwhile, NFIB continues this week to work with lawmakers for common sense revisions to the U.S. House passed “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” (H.R. 6201) that includes mandated family and paid sick leave on all small business employers.

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