Government Updates

The Water Quality Association is working with states that have issued Shelter-in-Place directives to their residents. We have been assured that, broadly, water treatment products and services fit within the category of essential services designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which are allowed to remain open for business due to their role in safeguarding America’s drinking water.

Specifically, WQA has been in touch with officials in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. We have also been in contact with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Earlier, WQA issued an open letter emphasizing that member companies' products and services as "essential" due to their role in safeguarding America’s drinking water. Read the letter here

The Water Quality Association is working with states that have issued Shelter-in-Place directives to their residents. Go to WQA’s Coronavirus main page for updates and read WQA’s open letter here

Federal Legislation
This section will be continually updated as new legislation is proposed or signed into law.

Public Webinar Hosted the Chamber of Commerce


Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
The CARES Act, was signed by President Trump on Friday, March 26th and us a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. There are seven main groups impacted: individuals; small businesses; big corporations; hospitals and public health; federal safety net; state and local governments; and education. Key components include loan program under the Small Business Administration, changes to unemployment benefits and changes to business tax filing requirements. 


Department of Labor 's Guidance on Sick Leave and FMLA under Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. Read the full news release here.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act

President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, an expanded emergency FMLA, and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to the nation’s employers. These Acts will become effective the first week of April and extend into late December. The U.S. Department of Labor is required to provide a sample employee notification letter with further implementation details by Wednesday, March 25. While more information is anticipated in the coming week, we have extracted some of the key points from the Acts and provided them for your awareness below. 


Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act: 
  • Any individual employed by an employer for at least 30 days (before the first day of leave) may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to allow an employee, who is unable to work or work from home, to care for the employee’s child (<18 years old) if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency. This is now the only qualifying requirement for Emergency FMLA.
  • The first 10 days (rather than 14 days) of Emergency FMLA may be unpaid. During this 10-day period, an employee may elect to substitute any PTO to cover some or all of the 10-day unpaid period. After the 10-day period, the employer generally will be expected to pay full-time employees at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate. Part-time employees will be paid based on the average number of hours worked. 


Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act: 
The Act provides protections in the form of paid sick leave for eligible employees who are unable to work or work from home because the employee is:

  1. Subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. Advised by a health care professional to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
  3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
  4. Caring for an individual subject to bullets 1 and 2 above;
  5. Caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency;
  6. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition.
     

Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The Federal Emergency Funds Allocated to Fight Coronavirus bill, signed by President Trump March 6th, expanded the definition of a disaster to include COVID-19. This gave the Small Business Administration authority to authorize small business disaster loans for economic injuries from COVID-19.

For information on the SBA Disaster Assistance, visit SBA.gov/disaster or https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. It does not replace lost profit. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

In order for your business to apply, first your state Governor needs to send the SBA a request to declare a State disaster. All states are working through this process and you can look up the status of your state on the SBA website.

SBA Agency Declared Disasters (this site is updated regularly): https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations/Index

Note, SBA encourages all loan applications be submitted online for fastest processing. It also allows the administration to work closely with you if more information is needed and you can track the application’s process. If your state has not been declared yet, you are encouraged to begin the process by registering as a user, then once the state is declared, you will be notified and can begin your application online. 

COVID-19 Small Business Information

Canada


COVID-19 Links on Province Level:

Alberta


British Columbia


Manitoba


New Brunswick


Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Declared public health emergency for Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday March 18, 2020
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Actions: https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/


Nova Scotia


Ontario


Prince Edward Island


Quebec City


Saskatchewan