In this Capitol Report:
Congress Extends Paycheck Protection Program
President Trump signed into law today the new $480 billion COVID-19 relief package. It includes $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program which ran out of funds last week. Thousands of small businesses in Colorado are still seeking loans through the PPP program as a result of the pandemic and the Colorado Chamber partnered with the US Chamber and the National Association of Manufacturing to encourage Congress to extend funding for the program.
The Small Business Administration has issued an updated FAQ document for PPP lenders and borrowers to provide guidance on application submissions, secondary sales of PPP loans and eligibility for businesses with large company ownership. The FAQ can be found here.
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Governor Announces Steps Toward Re-Opening of Colorado Businesses
On March 26, 2020, Governor Polis implemented a “Stay-at-Home” Executive Order which applied to all Colorado residents and “non-essential businesses.” On Monday of this week, the Governor announced he will not extend the Executive Order beyond April 27th – nearly one month after he issued the Order. His announcement included potential steps toward the re-opening of the State and all Colorado businesses.
The Governor outlined a three-phase process of social distancing including: 1) Staying at Home, 2) Safer at Home, and 3) Protect our Neighbors and that the State will move into the second phase in which residents will no longer be ordered to stay home, but are encouraged to do so. The exceptions will be senior and vulnerable populations, and K-12 schools and higher education institutions which will not be holding in-person classes.
The Governor also shared a few details regarding the re-opening of “non-essential businesses” that were required to close when the Governor issued the “Stay-at-Home Order. Retailers will be able to offer curbside pickup of products on April 27th, and then expand to in-store customers beginning May 1st. Other businesses including hair salons, dental offices, personal service providers, dental offices and others can reopen on April 27th. Other companies will be able to reopen their offices on May 4th, but the Governor is encouraging telecommuting “as much as possible.” Restaurants and bars will remain closed until likely mid-May and local governments can continue to enforce stricter restrictions than the State.
All of these businesses will be faced with some restrictions including social distancing, temperature checks, and number of customer limitations. The details of those restrictions will be shared by the Governor within the next few days. In the meantime, the Colorado Chamber will providing feedback from its members to the Governor on ways to help local businesses re-open safely and effectively based on a survey that the Colorado Chamber released on April 20th.
Mayor Hancock Extends Denver’s Stay-at-Home Order
Mayor Hancock announced that he will be extending Denver’s stay-at-home order to May 8th even as other parts of the state will begin to loosen the stay-at-home restrictions on April 26th. The Mayor stated that there needs to be more testing available, as well as, the ability to trace the contacts of infected people, and by extending the order city officials will have more time to conduct testing and training.
Denver’s stay-at-home order differs from restrictions on non-essential businesses like restaurants and stores that have had to close or curtail services since the beginning of the pandemic. Restrictions on those businesses are scheduled to expire on May 11th.