Resources for Businesses
Guidance for Reopening Businesses
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Public Health and Department of Labor Standards are issuing industry and business-specific COVID Safety and Reopening Standards.
These guidance documents can be found at:
General information on reopening Massachusetts can be found at the Mass.gov website: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts
Beginning on Monday, April 6th, and available Monday - Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, the Town of Concord is offering assistance for loan questions and application help. To take advantage of this service, please email Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will connect you with a financial staff member who can help.
Our local businesses, as well as not-for-profit organizations, veterans’ organizations, sole proprietors, self-employed individuals and independent contractors, are an essential part of our economy. While the COVID-19 virus is out of our control, we hope that these resources may help your organization during this tough time. Please periodically review local, state, and federal resources as information may change as the epidemic progresses.
- Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This program provides forgivable loans to entities with 500 or fewer employees to pay for payroll expenses (including benefits and other costs), as well as mortgage, rent and utility costs, if borrower maintains or rehires staff and maintains compensation levels. Since the loans are processed through banking institutions, you should contact your bank to apply.
- PPP Application Form – Although most banks provide an online application form on their website, this document shows what information is necessary to complete the application.
- PPP Information Guide – This document provides general information about the program.
2. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program: This program provides loans for entities with 500 or fewer employees (possible exceptions to this requirement) experiencing hardships resulting from the COVID-19. The application can be done online by clicking here.
Two documents provide information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program:
- EIDL Application Form – The form near the top of the first page has a link “Click Here” if the loan request is related to COVID-19. Click the link and the online application will appear.
- EIDL Information Guide – This document provides general information about the program.
To contact the SBA regarding general inquiries, please email email@example.com. For information regarding disaster relief programing, please call 1-800-659-2955 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking to contact the Boston district office, please call 617-565-5590.
State Resources: Various agencies should be used as resources for additional information.
- MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center’s Private Sector Hotline: This program through MEMA offers a hotline for questions regarding various state programs and offer resources on federal programs. For assistance and information, please contact the hotline at 508-820-2094.
- The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development: This state department offers resources for businesses related to employee benefits and will post additional guidance as it becomes available. Programs for business health and layoff avoidance include the following two programs:
- WorkShare Program: This program through the Department of Unemployment Assistance will provide help employers avoid layoffs during a downturn. For assistance, please contact the program at 617-626-5521.
- Rapid Response Program: This program through the Department of Unemployment Assistance will work closely with a business to avert layoffs by developing tailored plans and procedures. To contact the program, please call or email Ken Messina, Business Services Manager at the Statewide Office, (617) 626-5703, email@example.com or Chuck Bennett, Rapid Response Coordinator II at the Boston/Metro North Region, (617) 620-4695, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about this material, please contact Beth Williams, Concord Visitor and Tourism Manager, via email at email@example.com.
Updates for Non-Essential Businesses
The guidelines for essential businesses have not changed, but there are some small changes for non-essential businesses. If you are unsure which of category your business falls info, please see the list of essential businesses here. This means that some businesses that were deemed non-essential may be able to do a bit more than before as an interim before being able to reopen to walk-in or a modified business model. These changes include the option to be able to do fulfillment of online and phone orders with a small number of employees in the store. Stores must still remain closed to walk-in traffic. The parameters for number of employees and the way the business must operate are available in the link below.
Some of the changes to the non-essential businesses are seen in the listing below, this is not the full list of changes nor does it constitute advice for businesses on operating procedure or if their business falls under the non-essential businesses allowed to do remote fulfillment; for the full order and State’s guidelines, please see the order and FAQ’s in the link below.
Selected FAQ’s from Mass.gov:
- Can employees of non-essential businesses still come in to do non-essential work? NO unless the business and its employees are following the guidelines for remote fulfillment spelled out below.
- Can non-essential businesses bring in a small number of employees in order to remotely fulfill online or phone orders? YES if following the remote fulfillment guidelines below
- Facilities must be closed to the public, as the allowance is for the fulfillment of remote sales/orders only
- Employees may only be engaged in the packaging and delivery/shipping of phone and online orders, not the manufacturing of those product
- Operating hours must allow for sufficient ongoing off-hour sanitation/cleaning
- All employees must wear face coverings while on-site
- All employees must maintain 6 feet social distancing and employers should stagger employees within the facility to ensure social distancing
- Any deliveries made by employees must be ‘no-contact’ deliveries: items must be left in mailboxes, mailrooms, garages, lobbies, at doorstep, or similar no-contact drop-off points
- Employers must stagger shift start/stop times and breaks/lunchtimes in order to minimize contact
- Facilities must have readily accessible hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities for employee use
- In a closed facility that is used for remote fulfillment:
- There must be enough space within the facility for all employees present to be able to maintain six feet of social distancing
- In a facility under 10,000 square feet, a maximum of 3 employees may be allowed on the premises at a time
- In a facility between 10,000 – 30,000 square feet, a maximum of 5 employees may be allowed on the premises at a time
- In a facility more than 30,000 square feet, a maximum of 7 employees may be allowed on the premises at a tim
- Employee workspaces must be cleaned frequently, following public health guidelines
- Employers must require employees to self-administer a temperature check prior to beginning each shift. Any employee with any symptoms, including a temperature over 100.0 degrees, must not report to work and should self-isolate, contact their doctor and follow medical guidance.
- Employees in quarantine, due to exposure to a known case of COVID-19 or someone with COVID-19 like illness, must remain under quarantine for 14 days since day of exposure and not report to work
- Employers must strictly adhere to any further workplace guidance
- Facilities found in noncompliance with this order must be closed immediately
- Facilities unable to fully comply with all of these parameters shall not operate.
- If I work outside and can socially distance, can I keep running my business even if it isn’t essential? YES in some circumstances (see below).
- If the service a business provides is not on the essential services list, that business must cease all in-person activities at its bricks-and-mortar facilities. These non-essential businesses are encouraged to work remotely. Businesses that do work remotely, whether as part of their normal activities or as a result of this order, must maintain social distancing requirements: six feet of separation between all employees, and between employees and members of the public.
- What should I do if it is unclear if my business is essential, or if I have submitted a request for my industry to be added to the essential services list?
- If a business, organization, or facility is unsure about whether or not it is considered “non-essential” it should:
- First, carefully review the Order, the essential services list and the posted FAQ to confirm that the business, organization, or facility is not addressed in some way.
- Second, if “non-essential” status is still unclear, make a good faith determination about whether it is “non-essential”, based on: i. the Order’s purpose, which is to “minimize all unnecessary activities outside of the home during the state of emergency”; and ii. how similar businesses, organizations, and facilities are treated under the Order.
- Third, if the business, organization, or facility decides to remain open pending more detailed legal advice, strictly adhere to all applicable guidance from the CDC and DPH regarding social distancing and environmental cleaning and disinfection.
- Governor Baker’s Emergency Order (3/15) limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17th and effective until April 6th.
- Read more about the Emergency Order here.
- The Order does not apply to normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and centers, polling locations, grocery or retail stores, pharmacies, or other spaces where 25 or more persons may be in transit.
- The Order does not apply to typical office environments, government buildings, or factories where large numbers of people are present, but it is unusual for them to be within arm’s length of one another.
- Additional guidance can be found here.