I continue to be proud of the way that our tenants are responding to COVID-19. I’ve spoken with many of you personally and I am encouraged by your resolve to ensure your business survives this pandemic. Below are a couple of important updates on the crisis.
Governor Kemp’s order allowing most businesses to reopen on Friday April 24
Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, announced that businesses such as gyms, barber shops, hair salons, nail studios, tattoo parlors and dental practices can reopen in Georgia on Friday April 24, 2020. Restaurants, theaters and social clubs can open on Monday April 27. Kemp’s prior shelter-in-place order remains in effect until April 30 after which it appears that the governor will let the shelter-in-place order expire. Kemp’s order continues to allow churches to operate. Kemp’s executive order overrides any restrictions enacted by mayors or county governments.
It is important to note that the governor’s order does not provide for business as usual. The order states “each of these entities will be subject to specific restrictions, including adherence to Minimum Basic Operations, social distancing, and regular sanitation. Minimum Basic Operations includes, but is not limited to, screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks and gloves if appropriate, separating workspaces by at least six feet, teleworking where at all possible, and implementing staggered shifts.”
For the complete list of the twenty requirements that must be met before reopening in Georgia and a definition of Minimum Basic Operations, see https://www.georgia.org/covid19bizguide#other. For a comprehensive list of suggestions for reopening your business, refer to Osha’s guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
If your business was required to close due to the virus, the decision as to whether this is the right time for you to reopen is one that you must make on an individual basis. Do not reopen unless you determine that you are able to put enough systems in place to provide reasonable protection to your health as well as the health of your employees and guests.
Update on PPP loan availability
I previously provided extensive information on the process for applying for Payroll Protection Program loans that offer a two year term, 1% interest and the chance for debt forgiveness to the extent that 75% of the loan is used to pay eight weeks of payroll. You can access our prior correspondence in the Blog section of our website at http://www.habifproperties.com/category/blog/. Unfortunately, the initial $349 billion allocated to the small business aid program was exhausted by April 16, 2020.
It appears that Congress will approve an additional $484 billion in aid for small business and hospitals later this week. This money will go fast and it is likely that the new funds will be exhausted within a few days. If you have not already applied for a PPP loan, do not wait for the new legislation to pass. Apply now with a bank or online lender that is participating in this program. If you previously applied for PPP but your application was not completed due to the exhaustion of loan funds, check with your bank today as it is likely your bank kept your application pending in case new funding is approved this week.
Unfortunately, most banks and lending institutions limited funding for PPP loans to existing customers. For a complete list of banks and online lenders that are participating in PPP loans, including those institutions that are offering loans to new accounts, use this link.
Stay safe and do not hesitate to call me our any of our staff if you would like additional information about loan opportunities or to discuss your lease.