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COVID Update 79

Cuomo Confirms the Hudson Valley Region Will Enter Phase 2 on Tuesday, June 9th

At his daily press briefing yesterday Governor Cuomo said that The Mid-Hudson region is on track to enter phase two next Tuesday (6/9) and Long Island is on track to enter phase two next Wednesday (6/10). New York City will begin phase one on Monday (6/8). He added that since the public health data has been good the State is allowing restaurants and taverns in the seven regions currently in phase two to serve customers in outdoor areas. 

The State is administrating around 50,000 tests per day. Daily test results are showing that all regions of the State have a 2% or lower positive rate, which is much lower than the results from the last six weeks. The Governor said this accomplishment was thanks to social distancing and mask orders.  The State will expand testing criteria to include anyone who has attended a protest recently. 

Read the press release

Read the phase two reopening guidelines

Senate Passes the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

Bruce Blasnik, CPA, at Council Associate Member and friend PKF O’Connor Davies writes that “the Senate Passed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, with a unanimous vote Wednesday. This is the same bill that passed the House of Representatives on May 28, 2020. All that is required for the bill to become law is for the President to sign it.

This is a simple bill that amends the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program as follows:

  • It extends the date through which PPP loans can be made, subject to the availability of funds, from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • It extends the period during which a Borrower may incur forgivable expenses from 8 weeks to 24 weeks, but not later than December 31, 2020, and it raises the non-payroll portion of forgivable expenses from a maximum of 25% to 40%.

Read the rest of the amendments and provisions at PKF O’Conner Davies

EU Plans a Record-Breaking $826 Billion Stimulus Package to Soothe Europe’s Economic Pain from the Coronavirus

The European Commission on Wednesday said it planned to deploy €750 billion, or about $826 billion, as part of a new long-term budget and recovery plan.

The European Union’s executive arm said its push to aid Europe’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis would include raising funds through the financial markets.

In the package, called “Next Generation EU,” about €500 billion would be offered as free grants to the bloc’s member states, while €250 billion would be made available as loans to help repair the single market from the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more at Market Insider

Supply Chains, Safety Protocols Hobble U.S. Factories

Manufacturers emerging from weeks in hibernation during the coronavirus pandemic are accelerating production with jumbled supply chains and less efficient plants, making it harder to rebuild the weakened U.S. industrial sector.

Some U.S. factories are looking for alternative suppliers to compensate for plants that remain closed or are overwhelmed by orders for items in high demand. Other companies say new protective equipment and procedures to add space between workers will weigh on their profits and productivity.

Read More at the WSJ

Plan to Attend the Council’s Supply Chain Webinar 

More information is here

Jobless Claims, Total Unemployment Levels Higher than Hoped

Filings for unemployment insurance claims totaled 1.877 million last week in a sign that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high.  This was the first time the government’s weekly jobless claims report came under 2 million since the week ended March 14.

“Even as states reopen, claims in the millions are an indicator that the economic pain of the COVID-19 crisis is still acute,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at job placement site Glassdoor.

Continuing claims, which provide a clearer picture of how many Americans remain unemployed, totaled 21.5 million, a gain of 649,000 over the past week, worse than Wall Street expected.

Read more at CNBC

Factory Orders Fell in April

New orders for U.S.-made goods fell further than anticipated amid the COVID-19 crisis 

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday factory orders dropped 13.0% after falling 11.0% in March. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders diving 14% in April.  Factory orders fell 8.0% year-on-year in April. But the slump in manufacturing, which accounts for 11% of U.S. economic activity, probably is close to bottoming.

The sector remains hobbled by supply chain disruptions following business closures around the globe to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing measures at factories as they reopen are also hurting production. Cheaper crude oil, which has eroded profits in the energy sector, is also weighing on manufacturers of drilling equipment.

Read more at Reuters

How IoT Can and Can’t Help Us Go Back to Work

While connected tech in buildings will help us as we go back to work, it’s not the panacea that companies — and the media — are making it out to be. For example, what happens when employees are in an office and one manager keeps getting within 3 feet of everyone else? Even if that’s caught on camera, it’s unlikely that a siren would sound (although that would be both hilarious and blatantly dystopian), or that the manager would get an immediate summons from HR. For repeat offenders, there may be some sort of a conversation that takes place, but there may not be, either. Think about how often HR fails workers when it comes to sexual harassment or other anti-social behavior.

So it’s possible that, thanks to COVID-19, we’re going to see a more defined safety officer role form, one with actual influence — including the ability to compel our recalcitrant manager to back away from his employees. But that isn’t a tech solution; it’s a process solution. Which is why I have struggled to write about how IoT will help us with COVID-19 when we return to the office.

Read more

How to Mitigate ‘Reboarding’ Risks as Workplaces Reopen

Experts say there are three main considerations when selecting the employees to hire back into the organization: current talent needs, employee sentiment and liability for discrimination in the process. Or, as Land puts it, “balancing empathy and economics”

Read more at HR Dive