Find the Latest COVID-19 Updates and Recommendations: The CI Blog »
Coronavirus Resources: COVID-19 Resource Guide »

Energy & Sustainability

COVID 19 Update 65

Seventh Region Ready for Phase One Reopening

The Capital Region has now met the seven public health metrics needed to begin phase one of reopening. The Capital region will able to reopen starting tomorrow, May, 19. The Long Island region has met five of the seven metrics, the Mid-Hudson region has met four of seven, and the New York City region has met three of seven. All other regions are authorized to begin phase one of reopening.

While the Mid Hudson Region has slipped back – progress has been made in the metrics and there are hopeful signs.

Read the Press Release

The state’s regional monitoring dashboard is available here.


Powell, Mnuchin Outline Contrasting Perils Facing Economy

The nation’s top two economic policy leaders offered contrasting visions about the economic outlook, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin favoring a wait-and-see approach to more federal aid and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggesting more would be needed.

Mr. Mnuchin reflected the Trump administration’s belief that the biggest danger to the economy is waiting too long to restart activity after two months in which millions of Americans have sheltered in their homes to slow the spread of infections. Mr. Powell, meanwhile, challenged the premise that there is a trade-off between economic growth and protecting the public’s health. Fear of coronavirus infection is the economy’s biggest hurdle, he said, and the recovery will be held back until Americans believe it’s safe to resume commercial activities involving person-to-person contact.

Read More at the WSJ (subscription)


NAM  Webinar: Understanding Product Development, Product Donations and the Responsibilities of the FDA and other Federal Agencies—

Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m. ET

Speakers:

  • David Rosen, FDA Practice Group Leader, Foley & Lardner
  • Greg Higgins, Senior Counsel, Volvo Group North America
  • Dave Rousse, President, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
  • Moderator: Robyn Boerstling, Vice President for Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy, NAM
  • Special Guest: Jay Timmons, President & CEO, NAM

Understanding Product Development, Product Donations and the Responsibilities of the FDA and other Federal Agencies—Perspectives from a Manufacturer, a Lawyer and a Trade Association will be the first webinar event in a multipart series.

This webinar will help shed light on the workings of the FDA, a highly specialized agency and other federal agencies such as the EPA and what you need to know if you have supported or are considering support of the COVID-19 response.

Please RSVP now to receive registration details.


Skilled Workers Remain a Critical Issue for Manufacturers

The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board met for the first time since the previously scheduled meeting in March was canceled. They discussed the ever-increasing importance of access to skills training, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Manufacturers emphasized that to ensure a strong economic recovery, incentives for workforce development and skills training are more important than ever. Programs that focus on earn-and-learn models, or apprenticeships, should be prioritized, as well as partnerships between companies and local educational institutions so that we have the skilled workers ready to operate in new environments and to fill new jobs created by shifts in supply chains. NAM CEO Jay Timmons shared specific policy recommendations from the “American Renewal Action Plan,” which you can find here.

Timmons also appeared on CNBC, where he spoke about the importance of skilled workers, and the continued skills gap, as well as how we spur additional manufacturing growth.

You can watch the segment here.


Testing: Phase One Industry Sector Employees in Manufacturing and Construction are Eligible to Be Tested

As we noted in Monday’s post the Governor over the weekend encouraged all eligible New Yorkers to get tested, saying this is one of the keys to reopening successfully and he took a test during the press conference.

He expanded the eligibility to all workers returning in phase one including construction and manufacturing workers. He announced a new test finder search tool is now available on the state website. 

Subsequent visits to the eligibility tool have not shown any questions related to phase one worker, however that should change this week.

Visit the test search site


The Council of Industry Partners with HRP Associates to Assist our Members with Planning and Response to COVID-19 Challenges.

HRP understands that employees at Council member firms that are both currently working, and those who will be returning to work, want to be assured that COVID-19 is being effectively managed in their workplace. HRP offers comprehensive services including planning, training, management, and responding to COVID-19 to help employers address these concerns.

Click here for more information


Webinar: Direct Energy’s Hudson Valley Energy Market Update

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:00 am – 9:00 am, No Cost for Members

Join the Council of Industry and Direct Energy Business for a quick update on New York’s natural gas and electric markets. It’s important information that could keep your firm’s energy strategy ahead of market trends and changes. Following this presentation, take the opportunity to ask our energy professional your questions.

Tim Bigler
Senior Market Strategist, Direct Energy Business
Tim has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas, electric and oil markets. His current role is Senior Market Strategist on our Natural Gas Operations team, and he is the author of most customer market update materials.

To register click here

read more »

COVID 19 Update 63

Governor Cuomo Expands Testing Eligibility To Phase One Employees Returning to Work – Encourages New Yorkers to Visit a New Website to Find a Nearby Testing Site

On Sunday the Governor Announced that Western New York and the Capital Region have met 6 of 7 metrics but are still behind on testing and tracing capacity. The Governor acknowledge this is an administrative function, and that the State will be working with both regions to increase the number of tracers. He indicated that both of these regions should meet all seven of the metrics this week at which point they will enter Phase One of the reopening process.

The Governor also encouraged all eligible New Yorkers to get tested, saying this is one of the keys to reopening successfully and he took a test during the press conference. He expanded the eligibility to all workers returning in phase one including construction and manufacturing workers. He announced a new test finder search tool is now available on the state website.

Visit the test search site


Mid Hudson Region Takes a Step Back In Its Reopening Metrics

The 2 metrics reopening metrics that are stubbornly holding the Mid Hudson region back are total hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 people. In order to reopen a region must have 14 days of declining hospitalizations and have fewer than 2 deaths per 100,000 people.  Over the weekend there was a bump up in both categories which “reset the clock” to 14 days.

In response to a question from a reporter, the Governor said that the State is considering changing the way reopening metrics are calculated related to the hospitalizations and deaths of patients that came from nursing homes. If this change were made several regions might be eligible to reopen sooner.

Saturday the Governor announced that as certain regions reopen phase one businesses the State is also going to reopen economic activities that can occur without crowds or gatherings. The State will open horse racing tracks and Watkins Glen International racetrack for races, but no spectators will be allowed to view the events live. NASCAR will be allowed to run their planned race at Watkins Glen this August, but without fans. The Governor said the State is considering allowing other sports, such as baseball, to operate without spectators as well.

Read Saturday’s Press Release


Powell Says GDP Could Shrink More Than 30%, But Doesn’t See Another Depression

In an interview aired Sunday Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told “60 Minutes” the U.S. economy could shrink by upwards of 30% in the second quarter but will avoid a Depression-like economic plunge over the longer term. Jobless numbers  look a lot like they did during the 1930s, when the rate peaked out at close to 25%, however, he said the nature of the current distress coupled with the dynamism of the U.S. and the strength of its financial system should pave the way for a significant rebound.

“I think there’s a good chance that there’ll be positive growth in the third quarter. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that there’ll be growth in the second half of the year,” Powell said. “I would say though we’re not going to get back to where we were quickly. We won’t get back to where we were by the end of the year. That’s unlikely to happen.”

Read more at CNBC


In a Reversal of a Reversal – Mexico Will Open Manufacturing Today

Friday, after Mexico pushed back the planned opening date for a number of manufacturing sectors from May 18 to June 1, the NAM working in concert with senior U.S. and Mexican government officials were able to change that..  Mexico’s Ministry of Health reversed course and a new clarification in Mexico’s Diario Oficial (Federal Gazette) allows newly designated essential sectors—transportation manufacturing (including automotive and aerospace), mining and construction—to restart operations prior to June 1 if health security protocol processes have been established and approved before that date.

Click here for an unofficial English translation of the new, clarified guidance


NYS Comptroller’s April 2020 Monthly Cash Basis Report

NYS Comptroller DiNapoli released the April 2020 Monthly Cash Basis Report which shows significant revenue declines in April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the three-month extension of the state income tax filing deadline. All governmental funds monthly tax receipts totaled $3.7 billion, falling $7.9 billion or 68.4 percent from April 2019.

The April Report showing significant shortfalls in revenue officially allows the State Division of the Budget to propose spending reductions or other options.

Read the Comptroller report


SBA Releases PPP Forgiveness Application Form

The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles.
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30.
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.

PPP Forgiveness Application SBA Form 3508

Listen to the Council of Industry’s PPP Forgiveness Webinar Presented by JGS CPAs


Webinar: Returning to Work: Managing Employee Anxieties

Wednesday, May 27th 2020, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Cost: No charge for members

Skip Weisman is the Hudson Valley’s premier business coach focusing on transforming mediocre, stagnant, or negative work environments into championship company cultures the are more positive, more productive and even more profitable. Skip is the only certified Great Game of Business Open Book Management Coach in New York and he works with manufacturing companies to implement a systematic process of financial transparency that brings employee accountability to the workplace.

To register click here


Ways to Adapt Hiring Practices for Social Distancing

Employers have changed interviewing practices amid social distancing, company leaders say. They say they rely more on references and multiple rounds of screening before deciding which candidates to invite for video or phone interviews.

Read the full story at Inc.


Webinar: Direct Energy’s Hudson Valley Energy Market Update

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:00 am – 9:00 am, No Cost for Members

Join the Council of Industry and Direct Energy Business for a quick update on New York’s natural gas and electric markets. It’s important information that could keep your firm’s energy strategy ahead of market trends and changes. Following this presentation, take the opportunity to ask our energy professional your questions.

Tim Bigler
Senior Market Strategist, Direct Energy Business
Tim has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas, electric and oil markets. His current role is Senior Market Strategist on our Natural Gas Operations team, and he is the author of most customer market update materials.

To register click here


 

read more »

COVID Update 62

NY on PAUSE Extended to May 28 for Regions Not Allowed to Reopen Yesterday.

Five regions have met the public health metrics required to reopen; North Country, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier. If any of the regions that have not met the metrics are able to meet all seven, they will immediately be eligible for reopening.

We therefore encourage all manufacturers in the Mid-Hudson Region – whether currently operating as essential or not – to read, understand and put into practice the reopening guidelines which can be linked to from here.

Read the Governor’s press release


NYS Budget Director Robert Mujica Confirms the NYS Comptroller’s Report

The Report finds that the State is down 14% in revenues and will have a $61 billion budget gap over the next four years. Mujica and Governor Cuomo were noncommittal about when the State will issue budget cuts, but explained the first round could occur this month. The Governor said that he will not immediately implement the 20% cuts he has warned of in the past.

The State’s school districts must adopt budgets by Thursday, but they don’t what kind of funding levels they can ultimately count on.  The Governor has been advocating for Federal funding for state and local governments to fill the budget gap, but it has not yet materialized.

Read more at the Legislative Gazzette

Get the Empire Center’s Take from E.J McMahon here


Empire State Manufacturing Survey: May 2020

Business activity continued to deteriorate significantly in New York State, according to firms responding to the May 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed thirty points, but remained well below zero at -48.5. New orders and shipments continued to decline sharply, though not as steeply as in April. Delivery times were slightly shorter, and inventories were slightly lower. After plunging last month, employment levels and the average workweek fell further in May. Input prices were slightly higher, and selling prices continued to decline modestly. While current conditions remained extremely weak, firms grew more optimistic that conditions would be better six months from now.

Read More at the NY Fed


Coronavirus Lockdowns Trigger Rapid Drop in Retail Sales, Factory Output

U.S. lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic prompted record monthly drops in retail spending and industrial output, as consumers pulled back sharply on shopping and eating out and factories suffered a sharp drop in demand.

Read more in the WSJ


Empire State Development Announces More Than 4$M awarded to support Companies Producing vital COVID-19 Supplies

From New Technology Improving N95 Masks, to Ventilators and Vital COVID-19 Testing Supplies, these Products will be Produced in New York State

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced support for eight New York State businesses to produce needed testing supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $4 million has been awarded to help these innovative companies retool their business lines and pivot to manufacturing vital supplies for ongoing response and recovery efforts.

ESD Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “Many of the world’s premier and most innovative companies are in New York State. ESD’s support for these businesses not only answers Governor Cuomo’s call for homegrown industries to assist with the state’s efforts to combat the coronavirus but reflects the investment is being made to ensure that the State continues its record of smart growth as we recover and grow statewide.”

The first eight awards can be found here


Coronavirus Seemingly Tamed, Chinese Economy Starts to Recover

But weak sales at stores and a stall in export orders raise fears of a possible second downturn this summer.

BEIJING — China has turned its factories back on after bringing the coronavirus outbreak largely under control within its borders. The question now is who will buy the goods those factories make.

Industrial production surged last month in China more than twice as fast as most economists expected, according to official data released on Friday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. But retail sales fell even more sharply than anticipated, while orders for future exports from China have stalled.

The world is watching China’s economic performance closely. It is a couple of months ahead of the rest of the world in coping with the virus and then trying to reopen businesses. Its successes or stumbles could offer lessons to others.

Read more at The New York Times (subscription)


Deeper Dive From The Economist: Has COVID-19 Killed Globalisation?

The flow of people, trade and capital will be slowed

“The underlying anarchy of global governance is being exposed. France and Britain have squabbled over quarantine rules, China is threatening Australia with punitive tariffs for demanding an investigation into the virus’s origins and the White House remains on the warpath about trade. Despite some instances of co-operation during the pandemic, such as the Federal Reserve’s loans to other central banks, America has been reluctant to act as the world’s leader. Chaos and division at home have damaged its prestige. China’s secrecy and bullying have confirmed that it is unwilling—and unfit—to pick up the mantle. Around the world, public opinion is shifting away from globalisation. People have been disturbed to find that their health depends on a brawl to import protective equipment and on the migrant workers who work in care homes and harvest crops.”

Read more at the Economist


 

read more »

COVID 19 Update 61

Cuomo: Central NY Region Meets Guidelines Will Reopen Tomorrow Along with Finger Lakes, North Country and Mohawk Valley

Governor Cuomo announced that the Central New York region has now met the seven necessary metrics to reopen phase one industries tomorrow. As announced earlier this week the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Finger Lakes regions have also met these metrics. According to the dashboard the Mid-Hudson Region is 10 days away at earliest.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa added that NY on PAUSE officially expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 15th, so phase one businesses can be open tomorrow in the 4 regions that have met the metrics. Local governments will manage reopening through the Regional Control Rooms. The Regional Control Rooms will be responsible for monitoring public health data daily and enforcing the compliance of phase one rules.

In response to a question from a reporter the Governor said the question of liability for businesses that choose to reopen should be handled at the federal level, but he advises all business owners to take every precaution.

Read the press release


The State is Partnering with Businesses to Increase Production of Medical Equipment in New York.

In his press conference today Governor Cuomo said the State needs to learn a lesson from the equipment shortfalls that impeded fighting the coronavirus that occurred because most equipment is produced in China. The State is offering grants for businesses to produce equipment. Businesses interested in participating can contact Empire State Development to grow or start a medical supply business.


Worth Republishing from Yesterday’s Blog: Phase One Opening Guidelines Published on NY Forward Site

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase one. As of May 15th, select industries in regions of the state that have met seven public health metrics will be allowed to start reopening. Below is a link to a list of industries that will be allowed to open in these regions during phase one, along with their guidelines and business safety templates.

The guidelines apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

(Remember our Mid-Hudson region has NOT met the guidelines needed to reopen)

It is unclear if businesses in regions not reopening will be able to digitally affirm the document yet.

Read the phase one guidelines

Phase One Reopening Guidelines for Manufacturing


Recordings of Yesterday’s PPP Forgiveness Provisions and Tax Credits Webinars are available online.

Our thanks to JGS CPAs for the 2 excellent webinars they delivered for our members yesterday.  The links are below.

Tax Credits Webinar

PPP Forgiveness Webinar


Weekly jobless claims total 2.981 million, bringing coronavirus tally to 36.5 million

New filings for unemployment claims totaled just shy of 3 million for the most recent reporting period, a number that while still high declined for the sixth straight week, according to Labor Department figures Thursday.

The total 2.981 million new claims for unemployment insurance filed last week brought the coronavirus crisis total to nearly 36.5 million, by far the biggest loss in U.S. history. The count announced last week count was revised up by 7,000 to 3.176 million, putting the weekly decline at 195,000 between the two most recent reports.

Read more at CNBC


Workers Push for Safety Measures as Businesses Reopen

Anxious employees returning to work are lobbying for companies to keep in place safety measures implemented at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Some employees are also advocating for more generous sick leave and better hazard pay.

Read the full story at The New York Times (subscription)


Webinar: Returning to Work: Managing Employee Anxieties

Wednesday, May 27th 2020, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Cost: No charge for members

Skip Weisman is the Hudson Valley’s premier business coach focusing on transforming mediocre, stagnant, or negative work environments into championship company cultures the are more positive, more productive and even more profitable. Skip is the only certified Great Game of Business Open Book Management Coach in New York and he works with manufacturing companies to implement a systematic process of financial transparency that brings employee accountability to the workplace.

To register click here


Tracing Apps – Should Employers Use Them?

Several high-profile efforts are underway to deploy smartphone-based coronavirus tracking, including apps used for contact tracing. “Each employer will have to make their own decisions,” says FROM CEO and President Howard Tiersky, whose company has developed such an app, “but our point of view is that this is very limited data to be collecting and that it falls within an employer’s general right to monitor their employees’ work activity.”

Read the full story at Society for Human Resource Management


Global Economic Report: Manufacturers Around the World Report Unprecedented Declines in Activity

Manufacturers globally continue to face challenges with operational and demand disruptions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Economies around the world are suffering from an abrupt and severe recession. Activity in the sector has fallen at unprecedented paces in most major markets, with purchasing managers’ indices often at record lows or at the worst readings since the Great Recession.

Global Economic Report 0514 2020


 

read more »

COVID 19 Update 60

Phase One Opening Guidelines Published on NY Forward Site

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase one. As of tomorrow, Friday, May 15th, select industries in regions of the state that have met seven public health metrics will be allowed to start reopening. Below is a link to a list of industries that will be allowed to open in these regions during phase one, along with their guidelines and business safety templates.

The guidelines apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

(Remember our Mid-Hudson region has NOT met the guidelines needed to reopen)

It is unclear if businesses in regions not reopening will be able to digitally affirm the document yet.

Read the phase one guidelines

Phase One Reopening Guidelines for Manufacturing


Update From Governor’s Press Conference

The State has continued its initiative to test essential workers for COVID-19 antibodies. New York City frontline workers have shown a lower percent positive when compared to the City’s general population. The New York State Police and Corrections Officers have shown similar results when compared with the State’s general population. The Governor believes that frontline workers have a lower percent positive rate because they are using personal protective equipment (PPE) effectively. Something manufacturers are also capable of doing.

The Governor also announced that the North Country has now met the seven necessary metrics to reopen phase 1 industries this Friday, May 15th. As announced earlier this week the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and Finger Lakes regions have also met these metrics. The Capital Region and Central New York regions have met six of the seven metrics. Our Region – Mid-Hudson – remains at 5 of 7.

The list of businesses that will be allowed to reopen in regions that have hit their metrics can be found here and the full details of NY Forward can be found here. The State is also posting up to date data in an interactive dashboard to track progress of each region toward meeting the metrics needed to reopen. 

Read the Governor’s Press Release


Fed Chair Says US Economic Recovery ‘May Take Some Time To Gather Momentum’

In a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Wednesday, Powell said “The loss of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses across the country would destroy the life’s work and family legacy of many business and community leaders and limit the strength of the recovery when it comes,”

Powell said the shutdown has triggered an unprecedented economic fallout, and the medium-term outlook for the economy is unclear at the moment given the recovery is dependent on a number of factors, including timelines for a vaccine or coronavirus treatment, the possibility of a second wave of outbreaks and how much of an impact the virus has had on consumer confidence.

“Since the answers are currently unknowable, policies will need to be ready to address a range of possible outcomes,” Powell said.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Liability Protection Bill in Progress – The legislation Would Expand Protections for Businesses as they Begin to Reopen

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he hopes the bill will ‘find ways to expand existing protections’ for manufacturers who create coronavirus-related therapeutics or vaccines, and that he also wants it to ‘create new protections’ for medical equipment manufacturers.

McConnell has called expanded liability protections the ‘red line’ for Republicans on the next round of coronavirus relief legislation. The business community is pushing Congress to pass new legal protections amid concerns that they could face a myriad of lawsuits as they begin to reopen.

Read more at The Hill


Guidance on PPP Loan Evaluation and Safe Harbors

Yesterday, the Small Business Administration issued new guidance related to the recent announcement that the SBA will review certain Paycheck Protection Program loans to evaluate the applicant’s economic need for the loan. Under the new guidance, businesses receiving PPP loans of less than $2 million will be eligible for a safe harbor that deems their loan request to have been made in good faith; as such, loans below $2 million will not be subject to further review. Borrowers with loans greater than $2 million “may still have an adequate basis” for applying for a PPP loan based on their individual circumstances, but they will be subject to SBA review to determine the necessity of the loan request. If the review determines that the applicant should not have received PPP funds, the SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness. For more information, you can review Question 46 in the SBA’s updated PPP FAQ document.

Read the announcement


 

Companies Start Reaping Billions in Tax Breaks to Ride Out Economic Slump

New tax breaks expected to total about $650 billion are starting to flow to U.S. businesses, giving them quick cash and longer-term help to ride out the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.

So far, more than 50 publicly traded companies have disclosed tax savings and deferrals totaling at least $2.8 billion, according to securities filings. Money is also going to private companies that don’t report earnings.

The tax breaks, enacted in March, are a crucial piece of the government’s attempt to prop up businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, alongside Federal Reserve lending and the Small Business Administration’s loan-forgiveness program.

Read more at the WSJ 


Webinar: Direct Energy’s Hudson Valley Energy Market Update

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:00 am – 9:00 am, No Cost for Members

Join the Council of Industry and Direct Energy Business for a quick update on New York’s natural gas and electric markets. It’s important information that could keep your firm’s energy strategy ahead of market trends and changes. Following this presentation, take the opportunity to ask our energy professional your questions.

Tim Bigler
Senior Market Strategist, Direct Energy Business
Tim has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas, electric and oil markets. His current role is Senior Market Strategist on our Natural Gas Operations team, and he is the author of most customer market update materials.

To register click here

read more »

COVID 19 Update 54

Governor Cuomo Enlists Former Google CEO to Head Commission to ‘Reimagine’ the State after COVID-19

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he has enlisted Eric Schmidt, former chief executive of Google Inc. and Novell Inc., to head a blue-ribbon commission tasked with “reimagining” New York state in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo has been pushing for the state to consider using the crisis to make changes and improvements to how it handles such issues as public health care, education and housing at his daily press briefings on the virus.

Cuomo said Michael Dowling, chief executive of nonprofit health-care network Northwell Health, will take on the task of improving health services in the state. On Tuesday, Cuomo said the state will work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine education.”

Read more at Marketwatch


 

Proposed NYS Bill Would Create an Occupational Disease Presumption for Employees That Have Contracted COVID-19.

S.8266 (Ramos)/A.10401 (Simotas) – would amend New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Law to create an occupational disease presumption for employees that have contracted COVID-19. The New York Comp Insurance Rating Board has issued an analysis projecting the cost impact on the state’s workers compensation system to be as high as $31 billion, compared to current annual compensation system cost of approximately $8.7 billion. “The categories of workers identified in the proposal that are eligible to make a claim based upon exposure is broad and encompasses much, if not all, of the State’s public and private sector workforce. Further, by predicating compensability upon exposure instead of illness, the proposal makes most, if not all workers, eligible for benefits without testing positive for the illness.”

Read more at the Rating Board Analysis


CI Partner MACNY Featured in WSJ Article: Safety Policies Keep Upstate N.Y. Factories Humming

General Electric, Indium and other manufacturers in upstate New York have stayed open as essential businesses and largely kept their workers safe with proper equipment and protocols. Eighty percent of Manufacturers Association of Central New York companies are operating, with an average capacity of 75%, according to a survey.

The MACNY Survey mirrors ones conducted by the Council of Industry and the BNMA.

Read More at the WSJ


Automakers Restarting Manufacturing Plants

Fiat Chrysler is looking to reopen its manufacturing plants starting May 18, says CEO Mike Manley, pending government restrictions, such as Michigan’s, which is set to expire May 15. Other automakers such as Ford and GM also expected to open later this month after discussions with the United Auto Workers union about safety measures. Kia, Hyundai and BMW opened some southern US plants on Monday, while Toyota is planning a May 11 restart.

Read the full story at the Associated Press


China’s Exports Unexpectedly Rose in April

The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index for April came in at 44.4, Reuters reported Thursday, off the 50-level that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. China also reported Thursday that its dollar-denominated exports rose but imports fell in April as movement restrictions to curb the coronavirus outbreak were eased.

“Goods exports were much better than expected in April,” economists at Oxford Economics wrote in a note. Still, they warned: “We think the pick-up in exports is temporary and export momentum will fall in the coming months.”

Read More at CNBC


Virtual Forum with NAM CEO Jay Timmons and Rep. Virginia Foxx

You are invited to join the NAM Labor and Employment Policy Committee for a virtual forum on small business and COVID-19, including Q&A with Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Rep. Foxx is the Republican leader of the House Education and Labor Committee which oversees all of the nation’s workplace and employment laws including OSHA, EEOC, NLRB, DOL and workforce development. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons will open the forum and update participants on the NAM’s American Renewal Action Plan.

Rep. Foxx will provide an update on the latest Congressional activity in response to COVID-19 and will answer pressing questions from small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Register here


When Not Working Is More Profitable Than Working

Businesses getting ready to reopen are contacting furloughed and temporarily laid off employees to discuss bringing them back to work. Instead of enthusiasm, however, some employers are meeting reluctance. Not working has become more profitable than working.

Our friends at Greenwald Doherty offer some tips to deal with this challenge.

When Not Working Is More Profitable Than Working – Greenwald Doherty


Slide Deck from Yesterday’s Getting Back to Work Webinar Available

The slides from the terrific presentation by EmergencyOne are avialable on the Council of Industry COVID 19 Resource Page.  The recording of the webinar will be available tomorrow (5/8).

They are also here: Return to Work Protocols and Best Practices from Emergency One 5/6/2020


Back to Back Council of Industry Webinars Presented by JGS CPAs:

Payroll Protection Program Loan Forgiveness, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 1 pm

Jason T. Giordano, CPA, CVA, MST, managing partner of JGS, CPA will explain the loan forgiveness rules associated with the Paycheck Protection Program

In this webinar we will offer a detailed discussion of the loan forgiveness rules within the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), one of the most highlighted areas of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The PPP offers financial relief to small businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans. This discussion will include an in depth look at the loan forgiveness rules related to these new loans. Commonly asked questions will be discussed, along with the identification of areas where guidance may still be needed.

Register Here

Tax Credits and Relief Associated with COVID-19, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2 pm

Join Domenick Del Rosso, CPA, MST, partner at JGS, CPA as he explains the tax credits and relief associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to emerging and unprecedented financial devastation from COVID-19 on March 27, 2020, Congress passed broad economic relief for individuals, tax-exempts organizations and corporations. The CARES Act includes a myriad of tax provisions targeting individuals, corporations, and tax-exempt entities. In this webinar we will discuss certain tax relief under the Act as it pertains to businesses and corporations.

Register Here

read more »

COVID 19 Update 44

Joint Statement by SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on the Resumption of the Paycheck Protection Program

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement today on the resumption of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP):

“…The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30AM EDT from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower.  This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation.

“The PPP has supported more than 1.66 million small businesses and protected over 30 million jobs for hardworking Americans.  With the additional funds appropriated by Congress, tens of millions of additional workers will benefit from this critical relief.

“We encourage all approved lenders to process loan applications previously submitted by eligible borrowers and disburse funds expeditiously.  All eligible borrowers who need these funds should work with an approved lender to apply.  Borrowers should carefully review PPP regulations and guidance and the certifications required to obtain a loan.

“The Trump Administration is fully committed to ensuring that America’s workers and small businesses continue to get the resources they need to get through this challenging time.”

More information on the Paycheck Protection Program is here 


Update to Paycheck Protection Program FAQs Provides Limited Guidance on Required Applicant Certifications

On April 23, 2020, U.S. Department of the Treasury added an additional question and answer to its Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions that addresses the requirement that all applicants must certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.

The most significant aspect of the answer is the provision allowing any applicants that have since changed their mind about the necessity of the PPP loan or grown concerned about validity of their certifications to avoid any potential liability by repaying the loan in full by May 7, 2020.

Read More from our Friends and Associate Members Harris Beach


Commerce: Durable-Goods Orders Sink in March

US orders for factory goods had their second-largest decline ever last month, falling 14.4%, the Commerce Department said today. The decline was 0.2% if airplanes and vehicles are omitted.

Read the Full Story at MarketWatch


How to Safely & Securely Work from Home – Webinar Hosted by MTEC

April 30, 2:00pm EST (via BlueJeans)

The topics covered by MTEC cybersecurity experts will address frequently asked work from home questions that will better you and colleague’s cyber hygiene now, and in any future remote work situations. Topics and questions addressed include:

  • Common COVID-19 related phishing scams and threats. How do you spot them? What do you do when you do?
  • Trusted VPN software and best practices when using them. How do they work? Is it really safe?
  • Securing your home network. Is it easy? What are some simple steps to take?
  • Secure document portals. Should I use cloud software? Is it safer to email?
  • Maintaining security of servers remotely. How important is it? What do I do if something happens
  • Grant opportunities to assist your company pursue greater cyber hygiene.

Register Here


Human Resource Professionals Plan for an Abundant Talent Market Post-COVID

David Scott, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at DISH Network, a telecommunications company based in Englewood, Colo., said that his company has spent the last few weeks in reactionary mode dealing with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and that it has only recently started to think about what comes next.

Planning for a return to normal will bring a new set of challenges. The biggest change from a talent acquisition point of view could be the glut of job-seeking talent on the market.

“The circumstances brought on by COVID-19 will allow companies to be more selective in who they go after,” Scott said. “I can’t wait to grow based on the quality talent that will be available.”

Read More at SHRM 


Deeper Dive: Bill Gates in the Economist on How to Fight Future Pandemics

When historians write the book on the covid-19 pandemic, what we’ve lived through so far will probably take up only the first third or so. The bulk of the story will be what happens next.

Read More in the Economist

 

read more »

COVID 19 Update 23

Paycheck Protection Program Application Process Opens Today

Today Hudson Valley Manufacturers who need financial support during this difficult time can begin applying for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, the new $349 billion loan program established by the CARES Act. NAM has developed and an overview that will tell you who qualifies and how to apply for PPP loans. For more on other Small Business Administration loan programs and tax incentives, click here. More detailed information for borrowers provided by the Treasury Department can be found here and an application can be found here.

NAM team-created overview

__________________________________________________________

Fortune Magazine: ‘It’s going to be a mess’

What small businesses applying to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program need to know

As small businesses ready to apply for the new Small Business Association’s Payroll Protection Program loans (as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package), banks are calling it: they’re not ready for the rollout of the program.

Banks like JPMorgan Chase emailed customers on Thursday evening stating that the bank “will most likely not be able to start accepting applications on Friday, April 3rd as we had hoped.”

Read More In Fortune

__________________________________________________________

New York Power Authority Offers Relief Program for its Economic Development Power Customers

NYPA is waiving applicable energy and demand rate increases for its economic development power customers that participate in its ReCharge New York, Replacement Power, Expansion Power and Preservation Power programs for the July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, rate year. In addition, customers participating in those NYPA power programs are now able to suspend payment to NYPA for up to six months beginning with their April 2020 electric bill. Customers that opt-in to the new relief program can make payment installments over the following 18-months, free from any interest or penalties.

Read More

_________________________________________________________

DOL Releases FFCRA Regulations

On the surface, the requirement for documentation appears to conflict with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recommendation that employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a health care provider’s note to validate an employee’s illness, qualify for sick leave or be eligible to return to work. Health care provider offices and medical facilities “may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner,” the CDC had previously stated.

However, the regulations and recommendation aren’t mutually exclusive, according to Kathy Dudley Helms, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Columbia, S.C., because the documentation doesn’t have to take the form of a health care provider’s note.

Read More from SHRM

_________________________________________________________

Deeper Dive:  The Economist Writes “The Trade-offs Required by the Pandemic Will Get Even Harder”

“Imagine two critically ill patients but just one ventilator. That is the choice which could confront hospital staff in New York, Paris and London in the coming weeks, just as it has in Lombardy and Madrid. Triage demands agonising decisions (see Briefing). Medics have to say who will be treated and who must go without: who might live and who will probably die.

The pandemic that is raging across the world heaps one such miserable choice upon another. Should medical resources go to covid-19 patients or those suffering from other diseases? Some unemployment and bankruptcy is a price worth paying, but how much? If extreme social distancing fails to stop the disease, how long should it persist?”

Read More at the Economist

Note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For more coverage, see our coronavirus hub

read more »

Compressed Air Systems and COMAIRCO’s Compressed Air Challenge

Read about ways to save money by reducing or eliminating unnecessary use of compressed air from the University of Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program

Approximately 70% of all manufacturers have a compressed air system. These systems power a variety of equipment, including machine tools, material handling and separation equipment, and spray painting equipment. Compressed air is one of the most expensive uses of energy in a manufacturing plant. About 8hp of electrical power is used to generate the electricity required for 1hp of compressed air, making it the least efficient and sustainable plant utility.  While there are applications that require the use of compressed air, many uses of compressed air can be eliminated to save money. Calculating the cost of compressed air in your facility can help you justify system improvements that increase energy efficiency. This page offers tips for increasing your compressed air system’s efficiency and decreasing costs.

Read More

Find out about COMAIRCO’s Compressed Air Challenge Seminar

Learn about Energy Efficiency in Compressed Air Systems

When: June 4th from 7:30 am – 5 pm at The Crown Plaza in Suffern, NY 
Speaker: David Booth, Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems
Cost: $295 per person, includes continental, breakfast, lunch, breaks and materials
Click here for agenda and registration

 

read more »

Bringing Maintenance and Repairs into the Era of Cloud Technology

 

CloudVist, a local business located in Putnam County, recently launched a new software that has the potential to transform the way we preform maintenance, repairs and inspections. This new software, CloudVisit Inspection Software, brings these processes into the era of cloud technology by allowing everything to be done remotely. CloudVisit is a custom video conference application that “maximizes the efficiency of the quality control process by allowing the inspection and documentation of completed work on distant jobsites without leaving the office.”

CloudVisit software provides remote MRO across many industries including transportation, construction, aviation, energy, telecom, telehealth and more. Recently the technology has been instrumental in the quality assurance of windfarm installation and maintenance. Windpower is growing in demand, and expected to expand up to 6 percent by 2023. The United States is planning more than 25 major wind projects, with a large majority in the Northeast.

CloudVist’s technology can provide important efficiencies during the installation of wind turbines. The software can be used to “quickly train technicians and experts, reduce installation time and costs, and decrease inspection time.” By pairing the software with third-party devices such as drones it eliminates the time and cost of mounting technicians with ropes and harnesses for maintenance and inspection. The drones can now take screen captures in minutes, which are achieved in the cloud for safety and quality control records, and can be shared with project management. This process decreases the amount of machinery required, increases turnaround time for repairs and is much safer.

The amount of uses possible for this type of software seem endless. CloudVisit has already made strides in the energy and aviation industries, and there is no doubt that this technology could have many benefits across the manufacturing industry.

To learn more about CloudVist’s Software solutions click here.

For the full article discussing CloudVist’s Remote Inspection Software in the wind power industry click here.

read more »

The Future of Manufacturing is Sustainable

 

As the population becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, corporations are feeling the pressure to become more sustainable. Companies today have an environmental responsibility to actively reduce the amount of pollution and waste they produce. The misconceptions that manufacturing companies are dirty and environmentally irresponsible are making them the target of environmental activists and forcing change.

An example of these changes can be seen at Henkel, a multinational chemical and consumer goods company. Henkel recently set a new goal for 100 percent of their packaging to be recyclable, reusable, or compostable by the year 2025. The company has also partnered with Waste Free Oceans and has made efforts to increase their use of scrap plastic.

However, this new goal is more ambitious. The company announced the goal in late August and outlined a strategic framework to make it possible. Henkel’s plan has 3 main factors: increased use of materials from sustainable sources, smarter packaging designs, and closing the loop by ensuring recyclability of products. To learn more about Henkel’s efforts to become more sustainable, read the full article here.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a comprehensive list of sustainable manufacturing companies that can be found online. These companies have reduced waste and water usage, cut energy consumption and increased recycling. These advancements not only help companies reduce their carbon footprint, they can also save companies money. The future of manufacturing is most definitely sustainable, and the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.

read more »