Keeping Arlington United & Strong – COVID 19 Resources

 

Updated 5/26/20 (Many updates throughout page)

Re-Opening Massachusetts

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUSINESSES (from  the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development)

Identify the phase in which your industry or sector is eligible to reopen

Read the guidance for reopening

    • Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards
    • General Business Guidance
    • Sector-Specific Protocols and Best Practices (if applicable; additional guidance will be made available as we progress through the Phases.
    • Please note that businesses that have been offering essential services and have remained open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak must adhere to the safety standards and create a COVID-19 Control Plan (see below) by May 25th. Businesses with office spaces that have been operating as an essential service have until July 1st to comply with occupancy limits.

Develop a COVID-19 Control Plan

      • You may use the COVID-19 Control Plan template or create your own written plan.
      • All businesses in the Commonwealth must develop a written control plan outlining how its workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period.
      • Control plans do not need to be submitted for approval but must be kept on premises and made available in the case of an inspection or outbreak.

Meet the Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards and attest to compliance

    • Once the business has met the mandatory standards, complete, sign, and post the Compliance Attestation Poster.
    • Post the Employer Guidance and Worker Guidance posters.
    • These should be displayed in an area within the business premises that is visible to employees, customers, and visitors.
    • Reopen brick-and-mortar operations safely and in line with guidance
      • These standards will be jointly enforced by local Boards of Health and the state’s Department of Labor Standards (DLS).
      • Businesses play a key role in setting a standard for safe public interactions and in restoring consumer confidence.
      • By adhering to these mandatory standards and best practices, businesses, employees, and customers will ensure Massachusetts is able to progress from Phase 1 to Phase 4, the “New Normal.” It’s all of our responsibility to ensure we move forward, and not backwards, in reopening the Massachusetts economy.

Additional Re-Opening Resources:

  • What Businesses Can Expect in Phase 1, which condenses key detail into a single page
  • The report, Reopening Massachusetts, offers the full framework of the four-phased reopening and provides an overview of the issues underpinning the approach
  • The Reopening: Four-Phase Approach page outlines the phased approach and the key role that public health benchmarks play in reopening
  • The Purchasing Hygienic or Protective Supplies page includes information for employers and employees about supplies needed to return to workplaces, as well as a Vendor Tool to assist businesses in locating and purchasing hygienic and protective supplies
  • Department of Public Health’s Safer-At-Home Advisory gives key guidance for all residents of the Commonwealth, including employers and employees, during Phase 1. Please note, businesses authorized to operate under Phase 1 are not subject to the 10-person limitation on gatherings.
  • Note for retail businesses: retail businesses may engage in curbside pickup sales as of May 25th. Please check the Essential Services FAQ document for current guidance on remote fulfillment. Additional notes on curbside pickup guidance will be available in the coming days.

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Capital / Financial Resources

City of Boston Financial Relief Handbook. A helpful aggregation of local, state, and federal resources available to small business owners.

Verizon-LISC COVID-19 Recovery Fund ($2.5M) offering grants of up to $10k to help address immediate financial impact due to the pandemic.

LISC-Citizens Small Business Recovery Grants for Massachusetts. Grants of up to $10k to address immediate financial peril, limit layoffs, avoid gaps in employee benefits or insurance, mitigate economic instability and increase the likelihood of business survival. Funding priority to vulnerable businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses those located in low-income communities. Applications open April 20-24. Sign up for updates.

Kiva – crowd funded 0% interest loan. 

During this outbreak, offering crowd-funded loans up to 10-15k.

The Small Business Relief Initiative – Combined relief effort by GoFundMe, Yelp, Intuit QuickBooks, GoDaddy, and Bill.com

Google Ad Grants for Non-Profits

Philanthropy MA

Growing list of Boston-area emergency relief funds from The Boston Foundation is here.

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Families First Coronvirus Response ActQuestions & Answers

Published by the U.S. Labor Department

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The SBA resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020.

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Small Business Tax Relief – Late-file and Late-pay Penalties Waived
Visit the Department of Revenue for detailed information.

State Tax Guidance
  • The Department of Revenue issued a Technical Information Release (TIR 20-4) outlining state tax filing and payment relief:
  • Postpones the due date for personal income tax filings and payments from April 15 to July 15.
  • Waives certain late-file and late-payment penalties that apply to corporate excise returns and payments due April 15 that are filed and paid by July 15.
  • Extends the due dates for the first and second installments of estimated personal income tax (originally April 15 and June 15) to July 15.

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Department of Unemployment Assistance – 877-626-6800

Updated 4/20/20

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not qualify for regular UC or EB under state or federal law or PEUC. These individuals will not be able to claim benefits directly through the UI Online System in Massachusetts, as of this time. Eligible claimants under PUA will be retroactively compensated with this benefit beginning February 2, 2020, or the first week a claimant was unable to work as a result of COVID-19, whichever date is later. The last week this benefit is payable is the week ending December 26, 2020.

 

 

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    The PEUC program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits. The first week a claimant can be compensated on this benefit is the week beginning March 29, 2020, and the last payable week is the week ending December 26, 2020. The Department of Unemployment Assistance is awaiting additional federal guidance on how to implement and administer this program and the extended weeks of PEUC benefits are not yet available.

 

  • Next Steps For Claimants: No action at this time. Eligible claimants should continue to check for updates, which will be made available as soon as the state receives information from the federal government.

 

IMPORTANT:  If you are receiving PUA or PEUC you must remember to re-certify every week.  Payments will not continue if you do not re-certify each week.

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Tips from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) regarding economic impact payments: 

Payment or personal information is NOT required to receive your payment. The IRS has your tax information and will either mail the check directly to you, or use the direct deposit information they have on file from your tax return. Once you’ve received payment, watch for a letter directly from the IRS confirming receipt within 15 days after the payment is sent. The letter includes how the payment was made and if it wasn’t received, what you should do. More information is available under the Payment Recipients tab.

If you receive Social Security and typically do not file a tax returnyou will no longer need to file a simple tax return or any other paperwork to receive the stimulus. You will automatically get the payment. See IRS.gov/coronavirus for more information. US Treasury announcement

The IRS will use your tax return for your bank account or address, and to calculate and send payments. If you filed in 2019, that information will be used. If you have not filed your 2019 return yet, 2018 filing information will be used.

No one will call or email you from the government regarding your check. If you get a text, phone call, or email asking you for your personal information, do not respond.

Be sure you are eligible. Tax filers who have adjusted gross income levels of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples will receive full payment. Payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above that threshold. Individuals with income above $99,000 or couples above $198,000 with no children are not eligible.

Reach out. If anyone contacts you to get your personal information, then tries to keep you on the phone or rush you to a decision, hang up. Ask someone you trust, like a family member or financial advisor, for advice.

Contact your bank directly if there is a problem with your direct deposit or appears to be a hold on the stimulus check distribution.

For more information: 

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Information for Landlords & Tenants

Summary

In Massachusetts, commercial tenants are obligated to pay rent, but courts are prohibited from engaging in most eviction actions against the tenants of small business premises units in non-essential evictions. The prohibition will continue until the sooner of August 18, 2020, or 45 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency has been lifted, subject to extensions instituted by Governor Baker.

Before taking any action against a tenant, commercial landlords should (a) review the relevant lease carefully to confirm the rights of each party, (b) be aware of the emergency orders and legislation currently in place, and (c) check with counsel about subsequent governmental measures. That last point will be particularly important as the emergency and prohibitions end because the required timeline to evict a commercial tenant may be temporarily altered, despite previous orders and the language of the lease. Additionally, landlords should keep careful records of their correspondence (both hard copy and electronic) with tenants to show their efforts to accommodate the tenants’ economic circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Making those efforts may help avoid eviction. In a worst-case scenario, after the emergency landlords that are able to show their efforts to assist tenants will have better luck in eviction actions than landlords that cannot.

Details and more information can be found in this newsletter from law firm McLane Middleton and at this Full Summary for employers from National Law Review.

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Legal Support

The COVID Relief Coalition is a group of law firms, governmental agencies, and nonprofits (including our friends at Lawyers for Civil Rights) formed to provide advising to small business owners grappling with the impacts of COVID-19. Learn more / apply.

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ADDITIONAL LINKS

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Town of Arlington – Open Business List

Updated Daily

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ACCOUNTING

QUICKBOOKS ONLINE – $12-75

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

GUSTO – $6-12/PER USER

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption


ALL-INCLUSIVE

GOOGLE SUITE/HANGOUTS – $6-25/PER USER*

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Audio/Phone | Instant Messaging | Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption
*In response to COVID-19 through July 1:  free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive

OFFICE 365/TEAMS – $0-12.50/PER USER*

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Instant Messaging | Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption
*In response to COVID-19: Beginning March 10, Microsoft is rolling out updates to the free version of Teams that will lift restrictions on user limits.


COMMUNICATION

ZOOM – $0-19.99*

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar | Security/Encryption
In response to COVID-19: free for educators to move toward virtual learning

4/9/20 UPDATE – FBI Warns: Zoom Bombers on the Attack

With much of the world at home, staying connected through video-teleconferencing apps for work and school has become quite common. As this technology gains in popularity, hackers are flocking to it as well, finding was to be disruptive by infiltrating videoconferences and online classes. By hijacking these platforms, hackers can record or steal information… READ MORE

 

ZOOM PHONE – $14.99

Services Provided: Audio/Phone | Security/Encryption

SLACK – $0-12.50

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Instant Messaging | Information Storage/Sharing | Security/Encryption

LOOM – $0-5/PER USER*

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar |Instant Messaging
*In response to COVID-19 through July 1: free for educators, recording limit removed on the free plan, free trial extended to 30 days, Loom Pro price adjusted to $5/month

RING CENTRAL – $24.99-49.99 PER USER*

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar | Audio/Phone | Instant Messaging
*In response to COVID-19: Three months free RingCentral Office for K12 educators, health providers and non-profits

GOTOMEETING – $12-16/PER USER*

Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar | Audio/Phone | Instant Messaging
*In response to COVID-19: some organizations may be eligible for access to free emergency remote work toolkit. Can register here.


CRM

LIVE AGENT – $0-39/PER USER

Services Provided: Project Management


INFORMATION SERVICES

DROPBOX BUSINESS – $12.50-20/PER USER*

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Security/Encryption
*In response to COVID-19: Free Dropbox Business subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19

GENIUS SCAN – $0

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing.  Phone app for scanning/sending documents

TINY SCANNER – $0

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing.  Phone app for scanning/sending documents


PROJECT MANAGEMENT

TRELLO – $0-20.83/PER USER

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

ASANA PROJECT MANAGEMENT – $0-24.99/PER USER

Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management


SCHEDULING

ACUITY – $0-50

Services Provided: Project Management

ARTICLES