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Productivity & Process Improvement

Daily Update – 103

School Reopening Guidance Will be Available July 13, District Reopening Plans Due July 31st, Decision First Week in August 

Governor Cuomo today announced that malls will be permitted to reopen on Friday, July 10th.  However, in order to open, malls must be located in a region in Phase IV, have an HVAC filtration system with a MERv-11 rating or higher, and institute ventilation protocols to increase the amount of outdoor air being brought into the mall.

The Governor also announced that New York State will make the decision as to  whether schools will reopen this fall during the first week of August. New York State is now consulting with stakeholders on guidance, which will be finalized on July 13. Plans to reopen schools are due on July 31. As part of the examinations, the State is considering air filtration systems similar to the new requirements on malls. 

“We have been consulting all stakeholders on guidance for how a school would reopen in September. We have 700 school districts in this state, and they range from rural to urban to suburban areas. Localities are very involved in their schools and school decisions, so we have been meeting with them,” Governor Cuomo said.

All County Fairs will be cancelled by Executive Order. 

Read the Press Release

Regional Economic Development Council’s Grant Program (The CFA Process) On Hold For Now

Due to the coronavirus, and all of the economic devastation it has wrought, sources say New York’s 10th annual Regional Economic Development Council competition — where the state invests $750 million in projects from Buffalo to Long island — is unlikely to take place in 2020.

Officials from Empire State Development, which oversees the program, say the competition is under review as the state examines budget shortfalls due to the pandemic. “The REDC’s bottom-up, locally driven process has helped revitalize regional economies across the state,” said Kristin Devoe, a spokeswoman for ESD. “However, the reality is, the State is contending with a 14% drop in revenue due entirely to the pandemic, and in the absence of federal funding to offset this loss, the state will have to reduce spending to balance the budget.” Devoe said the REDC program, like every state-funded program, is under review.

Read more in the Rockland Business Journal

Labor Department Provides Paid Leave Guidance

The Labor Department clarified that companies with fewer than 500 employees need to provide paid leave to employees in the event that a child’s summer camp is closed due to COVID-19. Per the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, eligible employees were entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave in the event that a child’s school was forced to close due to COVID-19, and the DOL announced that this would apply to summer camps as well.

Read the announcement here

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Shows Americans Returning to Work in May

Openings totaled just shy of 5.4 million for the month, up from 5 million in April. Hirings surged to 6.5 million from the 4.05 million in April, and separations plunged nearly 60% to 4.14 million. The layoffs rate tumbled from 5.9% in April down to 1.4%.
These numbers help quantify the extent to which the jobs market repaired itself after an abrupt shutdown saw 11.5 million layoffs and discharges in March and nearly 10 million more in April due to social distancing and stay-at-home requirements brought on by the pandemic. Even with the jump in hiring, however, May ended with 21 million unemployed workers, or nearly four for every job opening.

Read more at CNBC

NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray Notes the Jobs Numbers for Manufacturing

There were 328,000 manufacturing job openings in May, up from 315,000 in April and improving for the second straight month after dropping to 310,000 postings in March, which was the slowest pace since October 2016. For comparison purposes, there were 482,000 postings one year ago.  Manufacturers hired 426,000 workers in May, the most since April 2001 and increasing from 299,000 and 326,000 employees being hired in March and April, respectively.

NAM Reports that the Federal Reserve has Updates on Main Street Lending Program and PMCCF

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has announced that the Main Street Lending Program is now ready to purchase participations in loans that lenders submit to the program. Banks will make a lending decision based on the program’s terms and their own underwriting standards; after a loan is approved, the Fed will purchase a 95% participation from the lender. The Fed will soon publish a state-by-state listing of lenders accepting new business customers under the Main Street program.

Another Fed program, the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility, is also now operational. The PMCCF will provide larger corporations with access to credit by purchasing corporate bonds. Your business could be eligible if you have an investment-grade credit rating and did not receive specific support via the CARES Act’s financing provisions for air carriers and national security businesses. You can learn more about the PMCCF here. 

Learn about the Main Street Lending Program

Learn about the PMCCF 

OSHA Launches COVID-19 FAQ Webpage

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a new FAQ webpage for pressing COVID-19 issues. The New page features guidance on employer requirements, return to work, testing, face coverings, cleaning and disinfection.

You can view the FAQ page here


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Daily Update – 102

Three More States Added to New York’s Travel Advisory

Governor Cuomo today announced that three additional states meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring individuals who have traveled to New York from those states, all of which have significant community spread, to quarantine for 14 days. The newly-added states are Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

Here is the travel advisory page which includes the restricted states

NY Forward Website Improved

The NY Forward website has been much improved to ease navigation.  It shows reopening stages by region; allows easy access the the COVID- Metrics; industry guidelines, essential businesses and testing information.

Visit the site

New York’s Economy Ended the First Quarter Off 8.2 %, the Latest Federal Data Show.

The Empire State’s real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 8.2 percent in the first three months of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, ranking 49th out of 50 states as the new coronavirus began to spread, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates of seasonally adjusted annual data. Only Nevada was ranked lower; that state’s gambling-intensive economy also crashed by 8.2 percent as casino customers vanished, but its decline was marginally worse than New York’s.

Read the story at the Empire Center

See the BEA Report

White House Wants Stimulus by August Recess With $1 Trillion Cap

The White House and lawmakers are set to intensify talks on a new package of virus-related stimulus this month, after they return to Washington from their Independence Day holiday break. Trump administration officials have eyed a $1 trillion spending cap since at least early June, Bloomberg News reported last month.  The administration wants to be sure it’s “striking the right balance between income replacement on the one hand, and ensuring that we don’t have excessively high implicit tax rates on the return to work, on the other hand,” Tyler Goodspeed, acting chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a interview with Bloomberg Radio.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

EPA OKs First Two Surface Disinfectants Tested on Coronavirus

The Environmental Protection Agency said it has approved the first two surface disinfectants, both made by Lysol, specifically to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, the government has advised cleaning surfaces with disinfectants to prevent the spread of the virus, but it had yet to announce any test results on specific products. Lab tests confirm Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist are effective against the virus, the EPA said Monday.

Read more at Bloomberg Law

5 Ways to Help Employees Overcome Fear

A CEO with a former life as a Royal Marines Commando writes: “To understand human behavior around fear, it is important to recognize that it is not just the risks that create fear but also the unknown: When will this be over? How will I ensure my employees are safe? How can I maintain customer engagement and keep my business afloat?

Employees are in danger of slowing down as fear sets in and leads to inaction. As business leaders, this is a complicated dance of lending support in the face of fear, maintaining momentum, and inspiring employees to create and envision a future. Ultimately though, the C-suite sets the pace, and there is no way to win any race without keeping a steady one.”

Read more at Chief Executive

Schools Face Tough Road to Fall Opening

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization known for its caution, published guidelines last week urging policymakers to get children back in schools. “The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the association said in a statement laying out safe back-to-school procedures. “The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.”

But experts say the conditions for reopening will depend on how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading through local areas.

Read more at The Hill

Using Safety Technology to Measure Physical Distance: Siemens Adapt its Tools to COVID

The pandemic made it quite clear that there will soon be a new normal for manufacturers. As such, manufacturers are facing an array of challenges as they begin the process of restarting regular operations. While figuring out and ultimately navigating this new operational reality, manufacturers must consider additional dimensions of employee safety, including the establishment of production environments and workflows that address physical distancing requirements.

Combining proven hardware and software, Siemens has created a new solution that enables companies to quickly and efficiently model how employees interact with each other, the production line, and plant design. The new solution also enables organizations to build an end-to-end digital twin, in order to simulate worker safety, iterate on and optimize workspace layouts and validate safety and efficiency measures to help future-proof production lines.

Read more at EHS Today

Jackson Lewis Webinar Series: Guidance for Manufacturing Industry Litigation Avoidance

Part I – Wednesday, July 22, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

  • Disability and Leave of Absence Management, including accommodation issues and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Environment, Health and Safety, including claims involving failure to furnish a safe workplace and negligence

Part II – Thursday, July 23, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST:

  • Employment and Tort Claims, including issues resulting from reductions in force and COVID-19-related claims of discrimination, retaliation and harassment
  • Immigration Compliance, including verifying employment eligibility in a newly-virtual environment and preparing for an expected post-COVID upswing in I-9 audits and worksite investigations

Part III – Tuesday, July 28, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST:

  • Labor, including violations of the NLRA’s “abnormally dangerous” rule and union grievances resulting from reductions in force
  • Wage and Hour, including employee misclassification issues resulting from a newly-remote workforce and COVID-19-related “failure to pay” claims 

For more information, contact Thomas McDonough

Click here to register for one or all of the webinars


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Daily Update 99

Cuomo Delays Indoor Dining in New York City, Announces State Will Form Enforcement Department

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday the State is expanding testing eligibility to all New Yorkers and encouraged everyone to go get tested.  Testing is key to keeping the infection rate low. The State’s testing capacity currently outpaces citizen demand. Today, New York will hit 4 million total tests completed since March.

The Governor also announced that the State will create an enforcement department to supplement local enforcement departments, but it is still the primary responsibility of local governments and departments to enforce. 

New York City is on track to enter phase three on Monday, July 6th. New York City specific phase three guidelines have not been released at this time.  Because there has been a lack of compliance with social distancing indoor dining will be delayed for New York City entering phase three until the facts change and it is safe and prudent to do so. The Governor called upon citizens, establishments, and the local authorities to step up and help. The Governor is also concerned with travelers entering New York City from other states with high infection rates.

The Governor also chimed in on air conditioning filtration, police funding, federal funding and the federal response to the virus. 

Read the press release

U.S. Manufacturing Activity Hits 14-Month High

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Wednesday its index of national factory activity jumped to a reading of 52.6 last month from 43.1 in May. That was the strongest since April 2019 and ended three straight months of contraction.  A reading above 50 indicates growth in manufacturing, which accounts for 11% of the U.S. economy. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 49.5 in June.

Read more at Reuters

Global Manufacturing Shows Fresh Signs of Recovery

Factory activity around the world showed further signs of recovery in June as governments eased restrictions designed to contain the coronavirus, but weak demand still weighed on production and employment, according to surveys of purchasing managers.  According to IHS Markit manufacturing sectors returned to growth in a number of countries, including France, the U.K., Germany, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and Ireland.

“We certainly have a recovery,” said Patrick Artus, chief economist at French bank Natixis. “In June, the recovery seems to be faster than we expected.”

Read more at the WSJ

USMCA Entered Into Force Yesterday

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) came into effect on Wednesday in a political and diplomatic environment radically different from the one that brought the three countries together under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.  The deal puts in new rules around digital trade, makes changes in point of origin rules that determine what products can be traded across borders without tariffs, and rewrites labor enforcement mechanisms. It is expected to boost the U.S. auto and agricultural industries, among others.

Read more at The Hill

Covid-19 Vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech Shows Positive Results

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the drug giant Pfizer and the biotech firm BioNTech spurred immune responses in healthy patients, but also caused fever and other side effects, especially at higher doses.  The vaccine generated antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and some of these antibodies were neutralizing, meaning that they appear to prevent the virus from functioning. Levels of neutralizing antibodies were 1.8 to 2.8 times the level of that in the recovered patients.

Read more at Statnews

Survey: Recruiters Expect Hiring Boon in July

A survey by Recruiter shows 51.4% of recruiters expect to be busier and to be hiring more during the next 30 days, while 68% of respondents expect to be recruiting more during the next 90 days. The average recruiter worked on 20 open positions in June, compared with 15 in May and 12 in April.

Read the full story at Recruiter

Black Lives Matter Protests Did Not Cause an Uptick in Covid-19 Cases As Stay-At-Home Tendencies Actually Increased

The available evidence suggests that this month’s Black Lives Matter protests have not contributed to a surge in covid-19 cases. In a new working paper, researchers from Bentley University, the University of Colorado and San Diego State University used mobile-phone data from SafeGraph, a geolocation data firm, and covid-19 case data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether the protests were associated with less social-distancing behavior and more covid-19 cases. In fact, the opposite was true.  Protests were actually associated with an increase in social-distancing behavior; for example, residents overall spent an additional 0.18 hours, or 11 minutes, per day at home (see chart). In other words, any time that residents spent protesting in the streets was more than offset by time other people spent baking bread and watching Netflix.

Read more and view the graphics at The Economist


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Daily Update – 98

Cuomo: Eight States Added to Incoming Travel Advisory

California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee have been added to New York’s travel advisory requiring a 14-day quarantine for incoming travelers.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that eight additional states meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring individuals who have traveled to New York from those states, all of which have significant community spread, to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

“As an increasing number of states around the country fight significant community spread, New York is taking action to maintain the precarious safety of its phased, data-driven reopening,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’ve set metrics for community spread just as we’ve set metrics for everything the state does to fight COVID-19.”

Read the press release

See the list of restricted states

Reopening Status and Updated Guidelines for Phase One Industries

The Capital Region is cleared to enter phase four today, July 1st. Phase four industries include higher education, low risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports without fans.  The Mid Hudson should enter phase four July 7th.

Phase four industry guidelines that have been released at this time can be found here.

The State has updated all guidelines for phase one industries and the phase four higher education guidelines. Full phase one guidelines can be found here and higher education guidelines can be found here.

Details of the changes made to manufacturing guidelines can found below. 

Manufacturing Guidance Changes Updated June 30 2020

EU to Remain Closed to U.S. Travelers as Borders Open Up

The EU in mid-March imposed a travel ban on nonessential travel from outside the bloc as the region emerged as a center of the pandemic and many member states closed their borders. Most internal borders were lifted on June 15 and the bloc said it would start opening up to non-EU countries from Wednesday. Americans will remain barred from entering the European Union for nonessential travel even as the bloc starts to open up to as many as 15 countries from Wednesday, the EU said. Tuesday’s decision comes after days of wrangling between the bloc’s member states, which were divided over the economic benefits of opening up ahead of the summer tourist season amid concerns about a second wave of the coronavirus.

Read more at the WSJ

Airbus Will Cut 15,000 Jobs From Its Commercial Airliner Division

Airbus is slashing 15,000 jobs, marking the biggest single reduction in its passenger jet business since the creation of Europe’s flagship aircraft maker 20 years ago. The cuts, forced by the collapse in air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, come as Guillaume Faury, chief executive, warned that he did not expect air traffic to recover to 2019 levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025. The job cuts account for roughly 17 per cent of the group’s 90,000-strong commercial aerospace workforce and have been carefully calibrated to avoid rivalry between unions in France and Germany.

Read more at CNBC

The Next Industrial Evolution – A Shift in US Manufacturing

Dhaval Jadav, Chief Executive Officer at Council of Industry friend and partner alliantgroup, writes that “The ongoing global pandemic has wreaked havoc on our country from both a health and economic perspective. Mixed with undeniable political tension in the U.S. and we are left with a population crying out for answers to help us move toward progress. The good news is that America’s history of success is due in large part to our ability to innovate. We have prospered as a nation due to our willingness to embrace new ideas and adapt to tumultuous times with valid solutions. With COVID-19’s impact still taking a toll, and our reliance on outside parties fully exposed by the pandemic, now is the time to solve for how American ingenuity can offer us a path to progress.

The answer? A dynamic shift in our approach to manufacturing in order to relaunch our economy and create sustainable job growth while lessening our independence on third parties.”

Read more at Industry Today

Will Remote Work be Forever? No, Say These Companies

Companies have tried remote work for over a decade, but many end up bringing employees back into the office, including Best Buy, Aetna, Bank of America, AT&T and Yahoo. “It’s good P.R., and very romantic, and very unrealistic. We’ll be back in the office as soon as there’s a vaccine,” said Richard Laermer, who in the past let employees work remotely at his RLM Public Relations.

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

Sensor Technology Offers Guidance for Social Distancing and Cleaning

As companies contemplate how to safely return workers to manufacturing and office environments, Banner Engineering has developed a series of wireless sensor-based technologies designed to measure everything from when surfaces need cleaning to how many people are in a given space. Company officials said its Safe Work Solutions provide “reliable detection of individuals and clear visual assurance of a safe environment for employees and patrons of businesses and retailers.” Existing solutions include occupancy monitoring, workstation/common area cleaning and sanitization schedule alerts.

Read more at EHS Today

Business Groups Move for COVID-19 Lawsuit Protections 

Ryan Tarinelli of the New York Law Journal writes, “Businesses groups are pressing New York officials to stymie potential coronavirus infection lawsuits from workers and customers, even as reports pile up that companies are not following the reopening plan. Companies statewide are navigating under new coronavirus rules as New York works through a gradual reopening plan, which on last week included New York City opening up a large swath of its economy. The city, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis, estimates the move could bring up to 300,000 people back to the five boroughs for work.”

Read more at the New York Law Journal (Subscription) 

Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Urging Governor Cuomo to Extend COVID 19 Liability Protections

The group is asking businesses to send a message to the Governor, urging him to extend COVID-19 liability protections to businesses and non-profits. “New Yorkers are eager to return to normalcy and re-open the state. However, businesses and non-profits are fearful of potential COVID-19 related lawsuits.  The business community is asking Governor Cuomo to instate liability protections for the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis to protect businesses who act in good faith as long as they are not grossly negligent.”

Click here to learn more and/or send a message to the Governor

Webinar: Collaborative Recruiting Info Session – Learn More About the Council’s Manufacturing Job Board and Applicant Tracker

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 8:30 am – 10:30 am, No Cost for Members

In 2018, The Council of Industry launched our collaborative recruiting initiative allowing member firms to post jobs and manage candidates at a fraction of the cost of a separate applicant tracking system. We have helped members fill hundreds of jobs and have thousands of resumes on file. We provide HR and administrative support with reports, job descriptions and best practices. Join us to learn more.

This webinar will be broken into two segments the first half will cover the details about the program and why you might consider joining the initiative and the second half is a demo going into further detail about job postings, reports, and candidate communication options.  

To register click here


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Daily Update – 97

Cuomo on Phase Four, NYC Phase 3, Indoor Dining and Malls

The Western New York region will enter phase four today, June 30th. Phase four industries include higher education, low risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports without fans.

Phase four industry guidelines that have been released at this time can be found here.

New York City is on track to enter phase three on Monday, July 6th. Phase three guidelines for New York City have not yet been released.  Complicating this opening, the Governor said, is a lack of compliance with social distancing in New York City travelers entering New York City from other states with high infection rates. Due to these complications, indoor dining may be delayed for New York City as it enters phase three.  The State is reviewing data and consulting with stakeholders to determine the safety of indoor dining. The Governor said that outdoor dining is working well and can continue. The State will issue a final decision on indoor dining in New York City by Wednesday, July 1st.

The State will mandate that malls install air-conditioning filters with a MERV rating capable of filtering COVID-19 in order to reopen. The Governor recommended all offices and businesses also upgrade their filtration systems.

Read the press release

Monday Economic Report: As COVID-19 Worries Linger, Economy Tries to Charge Forward

As the nation continues to grapple with lingering COVID-19 worries, the data last week reflected bounce backs in activity, suggesting that the economy is trying to charge forward. These “green shoots” provide some encouragement that the U.S. economy will rebound in the second half of this year, even as it is also clear that activity remains well below pre-recessionary levels.

Monday Economic Report 2020-0629

U.S. Lawmakers Unveil Bid to Boost Domestic Chipmaking Industry

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday introduced a measure aimed at strengthening chip manufacturing in the United States, adding to efforts to champion the sector and lure high tech supply chains back into the United States. The measure, backed by top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer and key Republican Tom Cotton, would offer $15 billion in federal grants to states to build, expand or modernize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D facilities.

“The U.S. semiconductor industry drives economic growth through technological breakthroughs and plays a critical role in the nation’s security,” said John E. Kelly III, Executive Vice President, IBM. “IBM strongly supports the American Foundries Act of 2020 because this important legislation would sustain American leadership in semiconductor technology and establish a national strategy to move it forward. We thank Senators Schumer and Cotton for their leadership on this bill and urge the Senate to pass it quickly.”

Read more 

More Details on EEOC Guidance That COVID-19 Antibody Testing Cannot Be Required to Return to Work

Council friend and Associate Member Jackson Lewis, LLP report that the EEOC’s guidance came in response to the CDC’s earlier statement regarding antibody testing.  In adding Question A.7, the EEOC stated:“An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results ‘should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,’ an antibody test at this time does not meet the ADA’s ‘job related and consistent with business necessity’ standard for medical examinations or inquiries for current employees. Therefore, requiring antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA. ” 

Read more at Jackson Lewis

The full set of EEOC Technical Assistance Questions and Answers can be found here.

US DOL Announces Coronavirus Leave Tool For Employees

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched a new online tool to help workers determine if they qualify for paid sick leave due to the coronavirus. The tool guides workers through a series of questions to help them determine if the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) apply to their employer. If the provisions do apply, the tool helps them learn whether they qualify for either paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave under that law.

Information and a link to the tool are here 

New Yorkers Who Visit a State With a High COVID-19 Infection Rate Are Ineligible for Paid Sick Leave

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Saturday that strips the paid sick leave protections for New York employees who voluntarily travel to high-risk states after June 25.

“If we are going to maintain the progress we’ve seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility,” Cuomo said in a statement. “That’s why I’m issuing an executive order that says any New York employee who voluntarily travels to a high-risk state will not be eligible for the COVID protections we created under paid sick leave.”

Read more at the Democrat and Chronicle

Lockheed Paid Suppliers $1.1 billion, Added 8,300 Jobs Since Pandemic

Lockheed Martin has hired 8,300 workers and spent $1.1 billion supporting its supplier network during the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of more hires planned for this year. “In this volatile environment, it is more important than ever before to maintain the operations of the defense industrial base and support our men and women in uniform,” said President and CEO Jim Taiclet.

Read more at Defensenews

FAA Begins Test Flights for Boeing 737 Max 

The Federal Aviation Administration will reportedly start test flights for the re-certification of the Boeing 737 MAX airliner this week. The troubled aircraft was grounded by regulators around the world last year after two crashed, killing 346 people. Given the collapse in demand for air travel, some analysts wonder whether airlines will still want them when they are re-certified.
Read more at Market Watch

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Daily Update – 96

New York State Updates

  • The State has updated phase three guidelines for the food services and personal care industries, and all guidelines for phase two industries.  Sectors and Industries include: offices, vehicle sales, retail rental and cleaning, commercial building management. Click here to see the new guidance
  • The Department of Health (DOH) is investigating the potential COVID-19 exposure at a high school graduation in Westchester from a student who returned from Florida and subsequently began showing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Those who attended the graduation ceremony have been directed to quarantine. The Governor stressed that the State is prepared to do aggressive testing and contact tracing to slow and control any potential new clusters.
  • Previous Executive Orders are amended to allow gatherings of 50 or fewer individuals in regions of the State in phase four. If the gathering occurs indoors it may not exceed 50% of the maximum occupancy for the area. All social distancing, face covering, and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health must be adhered to
  • The Mid-Hudson Region is on pace to enter phase four on Tuesday July 7th.

Be Diligent in Your Safety Protocols – 82 of 179 Workers at Oswego Apple Processing Plant Have the Coronavirus

Testing has uncovered that 46% — 82 out of 179 — of the workers at an Oswego County apple processing facility are positive for the coronavirus, the state announced Friday. Oswego County health officials had reported 37 workers at Champlain Valley Specialties tested positive, but they didn’t include workers who live outside the county.

Testing and contact tracing by state and local health departments uncovered a spread of the virus from the apple processing facility to two other locations:  An aluminum production plant in Montgomery County, and a Central New York onion farm where four employees out of 18 tested positive for the virus, state officials said. They did not release the name of the farm.


SBA Further Clarifies PPP Forgiveness Rules and Procedures

Council of Industry Friends and Associate Members Bond Schoeneck and King Report that the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) issued new guidance on June 22, 2020, providing further clarity to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process.  Borrowers may submit forgiveness application before the end of the covered period. The SBA confirmed that a borrower may apply for forgiveness before the end of the 8-week or 24-week period covered period if the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness. However, if the borrower applies for forgiveness before the end of the covered period and has reduced any employee’s salaries or wages in excess of 25%, the borrower must account for the excess salary reduction for the full 8-week or 24-week covered period.

Visit BSK for key takeaways from this new guidance

Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins Talks New York Manufacturing

The Senate Majority Leader from Westchester County was the guest of the Manufacturers Alliance June 25th.  She spoke via Zoom with manufactures from across the state in a conversation moderated by MACNY CEO Randy Wolken and Council of Industry CEO Harold King.  The Majority leader expressed her commitment to the State’s manufacturing sector calling it “the backbone of our economy.” 

You can watch the webinar here

IRS Expands and Clarifies CARES Act Distribution Rules

Council Associate Member and Friend Jackson Lewis writes that with roughly 3 months under our belts since the issuance of the CARES Act and countless CARES Act distributions and loan suspensions processed, the IRS clarified several eligibility, administrative, and taxation reporting rules by issuing IRS Notice 2020-50.  The Notice provides safe harbors, a model certification, and information reporting codes.  It is a must-read for those responsible for administering employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Read the informative article at Jackson Lewis

Vehicle Production Rebounds Despite Market Uncertainty

US automakers have restored most production for pickup trucks and SUVs, even as widespread unemployment and hard times for rental-car companies could hamper sales the rest of 2020. “The government put a lot of money into the market, and now people are spending money on cars,” says Pete DeLongchamps of the Group 1 Automotive dealership group.

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

Survey Finds Pros, Cons to Exiting Chinese Supply Chains

The coronavirus pandemic, rising tariffs and Brexit have led 33% of businesses with global supply chains to move or make plans to move sourcing and manufacturing away from China, according to a Gartner survey. Companies say that shifting sourcing to countries such as Vietnam, India and Mexico helps save on tariff costs and enhances agility and resilience, but 58% of respondents say it’s also led to more structural costs.

Read the full story at DC Velocity

Deeper Dive –  The Economist: The US Has Too Few Cases for a Total Lockdown and Too Many to Open Up Safely

America’s death toll and caseload are high, and not only in absolute terms. Per head, it has had twice as many cases as Europe and about 50% more deaths. The number of new cases rose 42% in the two weeks to June 21st, and this national average disguises a more disturbing trend. America’s totals have been dominated by the terrible outbreak in New York City. Greater New York has accounted for about a third of all deaths. If you strip out the area, you find new-case numbers in the rest of the country barely budged in May, rose in June and are now as high as they were at the height of the pandemic (see chart)

Read more at the Economist

Fracking Trailblazer Chesapeake Energy Files for Bankruptcy

Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy protection as an oil- and gas-price rout stoked by the coronavirus pandemic proved to be the final blow for a shale-drilling pioneer long hamstrung by debt. Chesapeake’s breakneck growth left it highly leveraged, and it was far slower than many of its peers to pivot to tapping shale formations for oil, which turned out to be much more lucrative than gas. U.S. natural gas prices are at their lowest levels in years.

Read more at the WSJ


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Daily Update – 95

New York Travel Restrictions: Frequently Asked Questions

“Importantly, the Guidance differentiates how the travel restriction applies to essential workers.”

On June 24, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced a joint travel advisory. Individuals coming into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from certain high COVID-19 infection rate states must quarantine for 14 days. Late on June 24, Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order 205 (the Order) and the Department of Health issued Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel (the Guidance).

Bond Schoeneck and King examine some frequently asked questions about the Order and the Guidance

Five Regions Enter Phase Four Today

Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that five regions – Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier – will enter Phase IV of reopening on today (June 26). New York State issued guidance for Phase IV, which will allow low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, film and TV production, higher education and professional sports without fans. 

The governor also announced that in Phase IV of reopening, social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed and indoor religious gatherings will be allowed at up to 33 percent of the indoor site’s capacity.

The Mid-Hudson Region is in phase three and scheduled to enter phase four July 7th.

See the phase four guidelines here


Commerce Department: Durable Goods Rebound in May

The Commerce Department said that orders for manufactured goods meant to last at least three years shot up 15.8% in May after plunging 18.1% in April. Economists expected a rebound, but the May increase was stronger than expected.  A category that tracks business investment — orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft — rose 2.3% after plunging 6.5% in April.

The lockdowns, travel restrictions and social distancing measures meant to contain COVID-19 brought economic activity to a near standstill across the United States in March and April.

Read more at The Associated Press

Vaccine Alliance Finds Manufacturing Capacity for 4 Billion Doses of Coronavirus Vaccines

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) plans to have two or three manufacturing plants for each vaccine, James Robinson, a longtime biopharma executive leading CEPI’S vast manufacturing push, said in an interview. “Right now, we know we can do the two billion doses that we have as our kind of our minimum target” by the end of 2021, he said.  The group is planning for eight to 10 regional distribution sites “so that we don’t have to make everything centrally and try and ship it around the world.”  Even with no existing approved vaccines, CEPI is already getting manufacturing and supply chains lined up in a quest to ensure coronavirus vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.

The Oslo, Norway-based group is backed by 14 governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Britain’s Wellcome Trust.

Read more at Reuters

Unemployment Claims Level Off at Historically High Totals in June

The number of workers seeking jobless benefits has held steady at about 1.5 million each week so far in June, signaling a slow recovery for the job market as states face new infections that could impede getting people back to work.  Applications for unemployment benefits were slightly below 1.5 million last week, at 1.48 million the Labor Department reported Thursday. While weekly totals have gradually eased from a late March peak of nearly 7 million, they also remain well above the prepandemic record of 695,000 in 1982.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving benefits, an indicator for overall layoffs, was 19.5 million in the week ended June 13, down slightly from previous weeks.

Economists say the sluggish improvements in claims tallies lower prospects for a quick recovery. Further, a recent increase in coronavirus cases could affect efforts to reopen the economy and get people back to work.

Read more at the WSJ

Treasury Department Considers Delaying Tax Day Again

The new date would be Sept. 15, according to CNBC.

Treasury has already pushed the April 15 deadline for federal income tax returns to July 15, giving individuals and professionals some relief as they grappled with coronavirus and stay-at-home orders in the spring. On that day, federal income returns for 2019, as well as taxes owed, are due. The IRS also pushed a series of other deadlines—including taxes for the first and second quarter—to July 15.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Bloomberg. “I would encourage all Americans, if you can file, go ahead and do it, particularly if you think you have a refund.”

Read more at CNBC

A Little Deeper Look at the IMF Forecast Numbers

  • The U.S. economy, the world’s largest, is expected to shrink this year by 8 percent.
  • Countries that use the single European currency are headed for a decline of more than 10 percent.
  • Japanese output will fall by 5.8 percent, 
  • The Chinese economy, suffering the twin ravages of the pandemic and the trade war with the United States, is projected to eke out just a 1 percent gain—its worst performance in several decades.

Current conditions are considerably more dire than the ‘unprecedented decline in global activity’ that the fund projected two months ago. Since mid-April, economic data suggest ‘even deeper downturns than previously projected,’ the fund said. Fund officials blamed the darker forecast on the effects of social distancing; scarring to global production capacity from the lockdown of activity; and the productivity cost of new safety and hygiene rules. Some economies also are still struggling to control the coronavirus, the fund added without naming specific governments.

Read more at the IMF site

Travel Restrictions Went Into Effect Yesterday

There are lots of questions and only a few answers.  One question with an answer is “Where can we track the restricted states?”  That answer is “New York will track all other state’s infection rates and make the restriction list available on the Department of Health’s website.”  The link to that page is below. 

Track the restrictred States here


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Daily Update – 94

Governors of CT, NJ and NY Impose Quarantine for Individuals Traveling From High COVID States

The three Governors will issued a joint travel advisory to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine for individuals traveling from states with high COVID-19 infection rates. The advisory took effect Thursday, 6/25 at midnight. 

If a state’s infection rate is above 10 per 100,000 or 10% of the total population on a seven-day rolling average, people traveling from that state will be required to quarantine for 14 days. As of today those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. New York will track all other state’s infection rates and update the restriction list daily.

In response to a question from a reporter, Governor Cuomo said that each state will enforce the quarantine their own way In New York, individuals found to be violating the mandatory quarantine could be subject to a judicial order and fines. Travelers entering hotels, business meetings, or interacting with police could face questions about their travel. For those found violating the mandate, the first violation could result in a $2,000 fine, the second violation could result in a $5,000 fine.

A violator could face up to a $10,000 fine if they cause harm to others.  The Governor confirmed that New Yorkers who travel to states with high infection rates and then return to New York must quarantine.

Read the press release

Phase Four Process and Guidelines

The Governor’s office has started to release guidelines and business safety templates for industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase four. The guidelines that have been released at this time are Higher Education, Media Production and Low Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment. The Governor and his team have stated that phase four will not necessarily follow the same process as other transitions between phases, so additional industries may be added in the future. We will notify you as further guidelines and information is released. Phase four of reopening will begin when the Governor, in consultation with public health experts, determine regions have met all health safety metrics.

All phase four industry guidelines and business safety plans can be found here.

Hudson Valley Region Unemployment Rate In May Was 11.2 Percent 

The May 2020 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 11.2 percent.  That is down from 14.4 percent in April 2020 and up  from 3.4 percent in May 2019.  In May 2020, there were 125,400 unemployed in the region, down from 157,500 in April 2020 and up from 38,400 in May 2019.  Year-over-year in May 2020, labor force decreased by 15,200 or 1.3 percent, to 1,124,300.

There were 37,000 people employed in manufacturing in the region. That is up 2.8 % from the 36,000 employed in April but down 15.3% from the 43,700 employed on our sector in May 2019. These numbers are volatile and likely to be revised, however, they do mirror national trends.

The document linked below includes not only Hudson Valley employment data, but local Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), State and National numbers as well. 

Labor Market Profile (Hudson Valley) Release (2) – MAY 2020

IMF Slashes World Growth Outlook for 2020 and Sees Sluggish Turnaround Next Year

The International Monetary Fund again cut its global economic forecast for 2020 on Wednesday, saying that the coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented decline in global activity. 

The IMF sees a global economic contraction of 4.9%, almost two percentage points lower than three months ago.

If realized, that would be the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, far worse than the financial crisis of 2008-2010. In January, before COVID-19 had spread, the IMF had projected 3.3% global economic growth this year.

Read more at MarketWatch

A Conversation with Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 Thursday, June 25, 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm,  Zoom Discussion

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D- Westchester County) will join with members of the The Council of Industry and the New York State Manufacturing Alliance to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the State Legislature’s package of COVID-19 related bills, the future state and recovery of manufacturing in New York, and then answer questions from members on various state-related topics. The Senator would like to hear the challenges manufactures are facing as well as the opportunities we see. She also wants to know what the State can do to help the manufacturing sector grow in New York State. 

To register click here

IRS Provides Updated FAQs on Employee Retention Tax Credit

The IRS has issued updated FAQs for the employee retention tax credit, the temporary refundable payroll tax credit for eligible employers affected by COVID-19. The updated FAQs relate to the tax credit’s governmental order test.

The answers can be found here

And here

IHS Markit Manufacturing Index Rises in France and Germany

The release of better-than-expected purchasing-managers’ indices from France and Germany raised hopes that Europe’s economy is on the mend after the pandemic (see main stories). IHS Markit manufacturing PMIs rose in France to 52.1 in June from 40.6 the month before and in Germany from 36.6 to 44.6. Any figure above 50 indicates expansion.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Boeing Ramps up Hiring as Defense Division Secures More Business

Despite cutting its workforce by 16,100 jobs amid the aviation slowdown, Boeing continues to hire and wants to talk with engineers and other skilled workers who have or can quickly get a security clearance. The jet maker is organizing a virtual online career event for June 30 and wants to talk to skilled workers about filling jobs in Kent, Tukwila and other facilities across the United States.

Boeing said in an email notice about the career fair it’s looking to hire “experienced systems, software, electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as aircraft mechanics with active SSBI (single scope background investigation) security clearances to join the company.”

Read more at the Puget Sound Business Journal


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Daily Update – 93

State Issues Rules for Youth and Adult Sports, Skills Camps, Yoga, Tennis

New York state has issued new guidance for restarting youth sports, adult pickup games and outdoor recreation activities conducted by gyms, fitness centers and training facilities.

Starting July 6 in regions that have reached phase three, sports training and drills can be done both indoors and outdoors. Gyms remain closed to other activities. Group fitness classes, including yoga, can be done outdoors.

Read the guidance

$65 Million in Federal CARES Act Funding is Available for Child Care Providers Statewide 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $65 million in funding funding is available and it includes:

  • $20 million to assist childcare program with reopening and expansion of capacity by providing materials to support a more socially distant model, and for supplies and activities associated with reopening and expansion. This may include partitions, short term rental of space, etc.
  • $45 million in childcare Reopening and Expansion Incentive funds to pay for 50% of the cost of a newly opened classroom (maximum grant amount of $6,000) as an incentivize to open the classroom. The temporary funds will phase out over the second and third months as more parents bring their children back into childcare.

Throughout the pandemic, 65 percent of OCFS-licensed and -registered child care programs remained open, many serving families of essential workers. The funding being made available today will help to bring closed programs back to operation to serve families returning to the workplace.

Read the press release

Global Economy Shows Signs of Pulling Out of Its Slump

The global economy is gradually pulling out of its stall as businesses reopen after pandemic-induced lockdowns, with output contracting at a slower pace in the U.S., Europe and Asia this month, according to surveys of purchasing managers.

A composite index produced by data firm IHS Markit pointed to a more gradual decline in business activity in the U.S., suggesting a possible rebound in the coming months.  The firm’s U.S. purchasing managers index for manufacturing was 49.6 and its services index was 46.7 in June, in both cases the highest reading in four months. The composite index on the month was 46.8, also the highest in four months.

Read more at the WSJ

Phase Four is Not the End: It’s Just the Next Beginning

Our friends and Associate Members Bond Schoeneck and King write that “with five regions of New York State expecting to begin Phase Four this Friday, June 26, there is one question at the top of many people’s minds: what’s next? The answer to that question is clear. The core restrictions will remain in place. They are not tied to the phases of reopening. Face coverings must continue to be worn. Social distancing will continue. Sanitizing must occur frequently. Screening must continue. Phase Four does not mean the end of following industry-specific guidance documents. And, as Executive Order 202.43 indicates, the state is entering a new era of enforcement. Read on to find out more about recent executive orders and what lays beyond Phase Four.”
Read more at BSK

NAM Ad Encourages Wearing Face Coverings to “Get Our Economy Roaring Again”

We need to get America back to work now and get our economy roaring again. The virus is spreading in a significant way, and if it continues, that will lead to economic devastation the likes of which we have never seen before. If everyone wears a mask outside the home, maintains social distancing with anyone other than the family unit and practices appropriate hygiene procedures, we will get the tens of millions of unemployed Americans back to work.  

Unfortunately, many Americans either don’t realize the importance of covering their faces, or they choose to ignore it. The NAM has made it a priority to speak out about the need for everyone to wear a facial covering when they’re out in public, and they have launched a new ad across the country that powerfully illustrates why Americans should take this seriously. 

Watch the ad and share it

How Well Do You Understand the PPE Donning & Doffing Wage Laws?

State and federal guidelines mandate the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against the spread of the Coronavirus in places of employment as they reopen in stages across the country. This raises the question: Will employers need to pay employees for the time it takes to don their protective gear before a shift, and to doff it after the shift ends?

The short answer is: It depends.

Read more at EHS Online

Initiative Expedites Vial Manufacturing Capacity – Corning to Expand Production

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DOD) officials said the agencies have partnered to expedite vial manufacturing capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates the need to bring manufacturing back to America, a priority President Trump has emphasized since his first day in office,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “With an estimated 90 percent of medical vials made overseas, foreign dependence could delay efforts to protect Americans with essential treatments and vaccines.” The partnership provided funding to two companies – Corning Incorporated, headquartered in Corning, N.Y., and SiO2 Materials Science, located in Auburn, Ala.

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

Millions of Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent

New research by Bloomberg Economics reckons 30% of U.S. job losses from February to May are the result of a reallocation shock. The analysis — based on the relationship between hiring, firing, openings and unemployment — suggests the labor market will initially recover swiftly, but then level off with millions still unemployed. Jobs in the hospitality industry are among the most at risk, alongside retail, leisure, education and health. In many cases, the pandemic will increase the challenge for bricks and mortar companies facing off against e-commerce platforms such as Inc, accelerating the pre-crisis trend.

Read more at Bloomberg


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Daily Update – 92

Mid-Hudson Enters Phase Three Today!

Governor Cuomo has announced that the Mid-Hudson region has been cleared to enter phase 3 of reopening Today, June 23rd, 2020.  Also note that gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed in Phase 3.

You can find guidelines for businesses reopening in phase 3 here

Trump Announces New Visa Restrictions on Immigrant Workers but Exempts Agriculture, Food Service, Health

President Trump on Monday expanded a measure restricting visas to the United States to target many more temporary foreign workers, limiting immigrants from coming to the country for employment in industries including technology, academia, hotels and construction.

The order primarily affects H-1B visas, broadly set out for high-skilled workers; H-2B visas, for seasonal employees; L-1 visas, for corporate executives; and J-1 visas, for scholars and exchange programs, restricting new authorizations through Dec. 31. The new measure takes effect Wednesday.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

SBA Provides Guidance on Using PPP Loan Proceeds to Refi EIDLs

The Small Business Administration issued a procedural notice on Friday night providing guidance on using Paycheck Protection Program loan proceeds to refinance an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, as well as providing instructions for PPP lenders on the procedure for remitting to SBA any PPP loan funds designated for an EIDL refinance.

Specifically, SBA said, a PPP loan may not be used to refinance an EIDL if the borrower received the EIDL before Jan. 31, 2020, or after April 3, 2020. EIDLs may be refinanced but are not required to be refinanced with PPP loans when the EIDL was received between Jan. 31 and April 3 and the PPP borrower used EIDL proceeds for purposes other than payroll.

Read more at American Banking Journal

SBA Issues Guidance and Updated Documents for Extended 24-Week Covered Period, Releases Simplified PPP Forgiveness Application, and Announces All PPP Loans Over $150,000 Will Be Publicly Disclosed

Our friends and Associate Members at Bond Schoeneck and King provide more explanation about the Small Business Association’s (SBA) guidance on June 17, 2020 pertaining to changes made to the PPP. While some questions remain, the SBA provided key guidance regarding the extended 24-week covered period, as well as issued a new Form EZ Forgiveness Application.

Furthermore, on June 19, 2020, the SBA and the Department of Treasury announced that in the interest of transparency to the public, the SBA will disclose the business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business type, demographic data, non-profit information, jobs supported and loan amount ranges for all PPP loans over $150,000. For loans below $150,000, totals will be released, aggregated by zip code, by industry, by business type and by various demographic categories.

Read more at BSK

Pandemic Leads to Accommodation Claims Under Federal and State Laws

The New York District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently commented that it had received an increasing number of charges relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which alleged violations of the reasonable accommodation mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  While the number of filings was not disclosed, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the City Commission also indicated a growing number of such complaints, many alleging refusal to recall workers with disabilities due to health and exposure.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

CDC and OSHA Continue to Release Manufacturing Related Guidance

The CDC and OSHA continue to provide updated safety guidance so manufacturers have the information needed to keep workers and communities safe. The NAM together with other major trade associations have requested CDC expand its current Frequently Asked Questions page to allow businesses and employers to submit specific questions to which they need detailed answers.

One of the most recent guidance and recommendations is on Testing Strategies.  The document outlines potential testing strategies in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the workplace, including organizing employees by risk categories, contact tracing to help identify possible spread, taking action in the event of multiple positive cases and recommendations on when exposed employees can return to work.

Read the FAQs

Looking Ahead to Phase Four – Guidelines for Reopening Higher Education

On Monday, the Governor’s Office released higher education guidelines. The guidelines are meant to help higher education institutions reopen and operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-page document, which includes 20 mandatory and 29 recommended best practices, is meant to be a guide for institutions who will be required to develop and submit their own plan.  According to the Governor’s Office, the guidelines are intended for all types of in-person higher education, including, but not limited to, community and junior colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, medical schools, and technical schools.

Read the guidelines

The Fight for Liability Protections

The NAM continues to advocate, both at the state and federal level, for time-limited and reasonable liability safe harbors to protect good actors from a flood of marginal COVID-19-related lawsuits. On the federal level, we remain in close contact with Senate leadership for the inclusion of liability protections in the upcoming “Phase Five” Coronavirus relief package. State activity has ramped up significantly, with Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee recently passing or enacting comprehensive liability protections. We are collaborating with our state partners to provide whatever assistance we can to help move the debate forward in additional key states.

U.S. Department of Labor to Host Compliance Assistance Webinars

The U.S. Department of Labor will host four webinars in June and July – including one for Manufacturing and Construction – to discuss how the Department is helping workers and employers by reducing regulatory burdens and making it easier to understand and comply with the law. The webinars will also provide an opportunity for workers, employers, and state and local governments to ask questions and discuss how the Department can expand and improve access to its compliance assistance materials.

Manufacturing and Construction

Guest Speaker: Occupational Safety and Health Administration Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt

Thursday, June 25, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT

Register at Link Compliance Assistance Webinar 2

CI Podcast: Jason Bram, Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

In this episode Harold King speaks with Jason Bram, Economist and Research Officer at The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks which, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Fed, as the system is commonly called, is an independent governmental entity created by Congress in 1913 to serve as the central bank of the United States.

Harold and Jason talk about the research the New York Fed has been conducting related to the pandemic and manufacturing. Jason’s past research has focused on both the recent trends toward urbanization, and the effects of natural disasters on regional economies – both highly relevant today. Jason and Harold also talk about remote work, lessons from the 1918 flu and possible recovery scenarios.

Listen here


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Daily Update – 90

Executive Order Gives Ramps Up Enforcement of Social Distancing, Other Safety Protocols

In an effort to encourage compliance with State guidelines, the Governor announced that he will be issuing an Executive Order today to strengthen State enforcement of reopening rules and guideline violations. The Executive Order will empower the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to immediately suspend or revoke the liquor licenses from bars and restaurants that do not enforce social distancing protocols. Businesses could also face an immediate shutdown order for not following guidelines. Restaurants and bars will also be responsible for managing social distancing guidelines on the sidewalks immediately in front of their business.

New York City is on track to enter phase two on Monday (6/22). The global health experts the State uses to determine reopening eligibility are reviewing New York City data, but the Governor said businesses should plan on entering phase two on Monday. A definitive answer will be given during tomorrow’s briefing. 

New York City specific guidelines for these industries can be found here.

Read the press release

Hudson Valley Region Private Sector Job Count Down 20.1 Percent in May

For the 12-month period ending May 2020, the private sector job count in the Hudson Valley fell by 165,400, or 20.1 percent, to 656,400.  Losses occurred in leisure and hospitality (-58,700), trade, transportation and utilities (-34,200), educational and health services (-18,400), professional and business services (-16,900), other services (-16,400), natural resources, mining and construction (-12,300), manufacturing (-6,700), financial activities (-1,100), and information (-700).

The May 2020 over-the-year job losses continues to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. At 656,400, private sector job count has reached its lowest May level since 1995.

Within the region, the Orange-Rockland-Westchester labor market area’s private employment sector declined the fastest year-over-year, down 21.1 percent.  They were followed by the Dutchess-Putnam MSA (-18.4 percent), the Kingston MSA (-16.1 percent), and Sullivan County (-12.1 percent).

See the Labor Market Profile Hudson Valley – MAY 2020

PPP Interim Final Rule (IFR)

In addition to the new loan forgiveness applications, late Tuesday afternoon, June 16, 2020, the SBA issued its nineteenth Interim Final Rule relating to the Paycheck Protection Program which is set to be officially published on June 19, 2020. This IFR serves to amend previously-issued IFRs and clarifies the effect of the changes in PPP loan forgiveness eligibility created by the Flexibility Act, which was passed on June 5, 2020, and has been a source of many questions in the days that followed.

Tuesday’s IFR also clarified the amount of owner compensation that would be forgivable under the Flexibility Act. Previously ‒ despite being able to borrow 2.5 months (10 weeks) of 2019 net income ‒ the amount of owner’s compensation that would be forgivable was limited to 8 weeks’ worth of 2019 net profit (up to $15,385) for an 8-week covered period.

Read more from Associate Member PKF O’Connor Davies

Back to Work” A Complementary Legal Seminar Provided by Greenwald Doherty LLC

  • Monday, June 22, 2020, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Where: Zoom Network Webinar
  • Cost: No Fee for Members

Joel Greenwald, a labor attorney and partner in the Firm Greenwald Doherty, LLC joins The Council of Industry to discuss the legal issues related to your employees returning to work including:

  • How do you avoid discrimination and wrongful death claims?
  • What legal issues and safety concerns are confronting you now as you bring employees back?
  • Can, or should, you be taking employees’ temperatures and/or requiring COVID-19 testing?
  • What staffing levels do you need to be at for potential PPP loan forgiveness?
  • How should you handle continued staff reductions?
  • What will businesses need to do to accommodate disabled employees?

Register Here

Guidelines for Colleges And Universities to Open in the Fall

Yesterday the State issued guidelines for colleges and universities to allow some residential and face-to-face programming for the fall semester. The Governor stressed that more data is needed between now and September to make a definitive determination, however, they want to make sure colleges and universities start to prepare their plans. The State is asking institutions to develop reopening plans that attest to meeting the guidelines, which must be filed with the State. These plans should consider strategies for reopening, monitoring, containment, and shutdowns.

New York State Insurance Fund Has Useful COVID-19 Safety Guide & Video

The phased-in reopening of the New York economy is well underway and NYSIF has provided a COVID-19 Safety Guide for New York Businesses that provides the guidance you need to reopen and remain open. It includes comprehensive industry-specific guidelines for construction, manufacturing, home healthcare, retail, clerical/office, restaurant/bar and personal care. 

Read the Guide

They also invite you to check view “Before You Reopen: A COVID-19 Safety Guide for New York Businesses video.”

Webinar Recording Now Available: Dealing with Supply Chain Disruption – Strategies to Help Your Firm Manage Risk and Maintain Operational Flexibility in Your Supply Chain.

The Council of Industry hosted a webinar on Wednesday, June 10th Featuring Clarkson University’s Dr. Dennis Yu, Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs & Research, And John Mead, VP at Totalogistix.

They discussed strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.

Watch it here

National Safety Council: Employers Must Prioritize Mental Health as Traditional Operations Resume

The National Safety Council is urging employers to protect employee mental health as workplaces reopen and be mindful that they may see a spike in substance abuse. The council encourages employers to create a culture of safety around mental health and offers recommendations for worker resources and supervisor training.

The pandemic has heightened the risk of mental health distress by destabilizing workers’ finances, jobs and child care arrangements, NSC said. Furthermore, the social isolation necessitated by COVID-19 can lead to substance use disorders, with those who previously experienced such disorders “even more vulnerable due to decreased accessibility to treatment, recovery supports and harm reduction services.”

Read more at HR Dive

Workforce Development Institute (WDI) Providing Grants to Mid-Hudson Manufacturers

Our good freinds and partners at WDI continue to offer funding to our members.  Through a unique grants program, WDI makes investments that lead to workforce development and economic growth. This program is an “interactive” one, where WDI Regional Directors work directly with a business, union, or other entity to understand the issue at hand, and then help develop a response.

In 2019, WDI funded a total of 316 projects that are projected to impact 12,622 workers across New York State. 

Want to know more? Contact Mary Jane Bertram, Regional Director 


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Daily Update 89

Cuomo: 60,000 Tests in the Past 24 Hours With Fewer Than 1% Positive – New York Has Moved from the Worst COVID State to One of the Best.

The State performed 59,341 tests on June 16th, of which just 567 tests returned positive, which is less than 1% of all results. New York has gone from the highest infection rate to the lowest infection rate in the Nation. New York City COVID-19 positive tests have fallen during phase one of reopening. Positive tests dropped from 57% per day on April 1st, to 2% on June 8th, to 1.4% today. Hospitalizations have fallen for weeks from a peak of 12,000 to 1,280 on June 8th, to 761 today. The daily percent positive of all cases remains low in all boroughs in the City.

New York City is on track to enter phase two on Monday (6/22).

The Capital Region began phase three yesterday. Our Mid-Hudson region is on track to enter phase three on Tuesday (6/23). The Long Island region is on track to enter phase three on Wednesday (6/24). 

New York City specific guidelines for these industries can be found here.

Phase three guidelines are here

The regional dashboard is here

PPP – New EZ and Revised Full Forgiveness Applications Released

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020.  In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers.  Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.  

View the EZ Forgiveness Application.

View the Full Forgiveness Application.

Main Street Lending Program – More Details 

Council Associate Member and friend PKF O’Connor Davies Provides some further details on the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program.

The Federal Reserve announced on June 15, 2020 that lenders may begin registering to be an approved lender under the Main Street Lending Program (the Program). Once registered, the lenders will be allowed to offer loans under the Program. Previously, on June 8, 2020, the Federal Reserved announced changes to loan terms under the Program. The Federal Reserve’s purpose is to promote maximum employment, maintain steady prices, and support the stability of the financial system. The Program is being conducted under authority granted by the CARES Act. Businesses seeking loans under the Program would obtain them from approved lenders. The loans are generally available to commercial companies employing up to 15,000 workers or with 2019 annual revenues up to $5 billion.

Read more at PKF O’Connor Davies

Data: 37.7M workers at high risk for COVID-19

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found more than 90 million adults are at higher risk for serious health outcomes from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or age. Almost 38 million of that cohort is employed — most of them full time — and likely face financial hardship preventing them from remaining absent from their job, if their employer wants them back.

“These data suggest employers should take into account the higher risk some workers will face, allowing them to work at home where possible, to be tested and to minimize their risks if they return to work,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement.

Read more at HealthCareDive

Pharma Groups to Ramp Up Output of Virus Drug Dexamethasone

Pharmaceutical companies are preparing to ramp up the mass production of a cheap generic drug that UK scientists say is the first treatment to significantly cut mortality in severe coronavirus patients.

Dexamethasone cut the death rates for patients receiving oxygen by one-fifth and it reduced the total 28-day virus mortality rate by 17 per cent, according to the UK trial.

Read more at the Financial Times

GM CEO Mary Barra ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ on Coronavirus Recovery, Consumer Demand

General Motors CEO and Chairman Mary Barra told CNBC on Wednesday she is “cautiously optimistic” about consumer demand returning as well as a global economic recovery as businesses continue to reopen following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised how demand has come back,” she said in a “Squawk Box” interview. Barra said the company is “hopeful that we’ll have a strong recovery” overall but is planning for multiple scenarios “to make sure the company is strong from a business perspective and can weather any outcome.”

Read/watch at CNBC

Retail Sales Increase by a Record 18% – A Little Closer Look

U.S. retail sales posted their most impressive jump in May, suggesting that the recession caused by the pandemic might be ending. Retail sales jumped 17.7% last month, the biggest advance since the government started tracking the series in 1992 and data for April was revised to show a record 14.7% drop in sales instead of the previously reported 16.2%.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would rise 8% in May.

Bloomberg dives in on more specifics on May’s strong numbers:

  • Sales in the automotive sector—led by car truck dealerships—rose more than $30 billion from April, accounting for more than 40% of the overall retail sales increase.
  • Clothing retailers noticed the largest percentage increase in May—a stunning 188%….[But] sales are just a third of February’s level.

Read the Bloomberg Story

All Good Things…. Cuomo Will Hold Last COVID Briefing Friday

Governor Cuomo also announced he would stop his daily press briefings after this Friday (6/19) and move back to a similar schedule of briefings that was in place before COVID-19. We will continue to monitor his briefings and update you with any relevant information.


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Daily Update 87

Cuomo: Gatherings of Up to 25 Permitted in Phase Three Regions

The Governor held his press briefing on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in our Mid-Hudson Region to tout the opening of the 3.6 mile bicycle and pedestrian path.  He announced the, since the public health metrics being tracked are trending in a positive direction while reopening, the State is accelerating certain activities. The State will increase the limit on public gatherings from ten to twenty-five people in phase three eligible regions.

The Western New York region is cleared to enter phase three today (6/16). The Capital region is expected to enter phase three tomorrow (6/17), but has not yet officially been cleared to do so.

Read the press release

Phase three industries and guidelines

Monday Economic Report

There were 311,000 manufacturing job openings in April, edging up slightly from the 310,000 postings in March, which was the slowest pace since October 2016. The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the manufacturing labor market dramatically. After experiencing more job openings than the number of people looking for work for 24 straight months, the abrupt stoppage of economic activity amid the COVID-19 outbreak sharply reversed that trend, starting in March. There were 23,078,000 unemployed Americans in April–the figure declined to 20,985,000 in May but remained historically elevated, according to the latest jobs data. 

Monday Economic Report 2020-0615

Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Business activity steadied in New York State, according to firms responding to the June 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. After breaching record lows in April and May, the headline general business conditions index climbed forty-eight points to -0.2. New orders were unchanged from last month and shipments inched higher. Delivery times and inventories were little changed. Employment levels edged slightly lower and the average workweek continued to decline. Input price increases picked up, and selling prices stabilized. Firms were notably more optimistic that conditions would be better in six months, with the index for future business conditions rising to its highest level in more than a decade.

Read more at the NY Fed

Report: Pandemic Multiplies Cybervulnerabilities

Attackers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to exploit pre-existing and newly introduced vulnerabilities across a wide range of attack points.

Security firm RiskIQ, which specializes in digital asset discovery and protection, has used data collected recently by its technology through internet scans to assess the current global attack surface. Over two weeks, the company saw the addition of 2,959,498 new domain names and 772,786,941 new unique hosts to the web.

Read more at CSO

China is a Bright Spot for U.S. in Gloomy Global Trade Picture

China has retaken its mantle as America’s largest trading partner, emerging as a rare bright spot for U.S. farmers and other exporters as the coronavirus pandemic constrains global commerce.

Trade between the two nations rose to $39.7 billion in April, up nearly 43% from the month before, and enough to once again surpass Mexico and Canada. The jump followed the signing of a trade pact in January in which China agreed to sharply step up purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods. U.S.-China trade remains well below the record $61.4 billion set in October 2018, and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has cast doubt on China’s ability to meet ambitious purchase targets set in the trade accord. China is nonetheless the only major world economy likely to post positive growth this year, according to a recent World Bank forecast.

Read more at the WSJ

Beijing Imposes Curbs as Coronavirus Returns to Chinese capital

After nearly two months with no new infections, Beijing officials have reported 79 cases over the past four days, the city’s biggest cluster of infections since February. The return of the coronavirus has shrouded Beijing, home to the headquarters of many big corporations, in uncertainty at a time when China is trying to shake off the economic torpor caused by the disease. 

“The containment efforts have rapidly entered into a war-time mode,” senior city government official Xu Ying told a news conference. Xu said 7,200 neighborhoods and nearly 100,000 epidemic-control workers had entered the “battlefield”. The outbreak has been traced to the sprawling Xinfadi market where thousands of tonnes of vegetables, fruits and meat change hands each day.

Read more at Reuters

FAST Forward: Advancing Small Business in these Unprecedented Times

GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and the Federal Acquisition Service are partnering to host a FAST Forward virtual event on June 22 to assist and answer questions on how small businesses can sell products and services to the federal government. 

The training sessions will give you an overview of what you need to know to pursue a federal or GSA contract; from market research, registering your business in (System for Award Management), supply chain resilience and contract compliance, to adapting to some of the emerging needs we are experiencing in response to the global pandemic. Links to additional small business resources will also be provided after the event.

Register today

Metro-North Expands Schedule

The schedule change will further increase overall service to 61 percent of the railroad’s normal weekday schedule.

The previous schedule of 54 trains during morning peak hours will be increased to 116 trains and additional 11 trains operating during reverse peak time. This reflects 49 trains arriving at Grand Central Terminal during the morning peak and 67 during the afternoon peak.

With ridership down more than 90 percent and more customers expected to slowly make their return to the system, the new schedule provides approximately 41 percent of the normal Metro-North peak capacity, railroad officials said.

Read more at Mid Hudson News



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Daily Update 86

Cuomo: Phased Reopening is Working

The governor announced that 3 more regions should enter phase 3 this coming week. He added that New York is progressing through the phased reopening without spiking infection rates unlike other states that have seen their infections rates increase since reopening. Nearly half of the states have reported an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and fourteen states have seen an increase of over 25% in the last week. New York has experienced a continued steady downward trend in new infections. The Governor said the State will continue a smart and disciplined re-opening to avoid a spike in new COVID-19 cases that other states who have re-opened too quickly are experiencing.

Read Saturday’s press release

Stock Futures Tumble on Virus Fears, Chinese Economic Data

Market participants continued to eye coronavirus cases across the country for signs of resurgences. New cases in the densely populated state of Florida grew faster than the past week’s average as of Sunday’s tally, according to Bloomberg data, and Washington State Department of Health issued a report warning of state-wide increases in the virus.

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow during CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday downplayed economic concerns posed by potential new waves of the coronavirus, saying, “There’s a very good chance you are going to get the V-shaped recovery,” and asserting growth would pick back up in the second half of the year. The remarks contrasted with some of the more cautionary outlooks from officials including Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who last week underscored the ongoing uncertainty created by the pandemic.

Kudlow also said the current $600-per-week unemployment payment paid out to some Americans who had lost their jobs during the pandemic as part of Washington’s sweeping coronavirus relief plan would end on schedule at the end of July, calling the program “a disincentive” for people to return to work.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

DiNapoli: A Look at New York’s Economy

“The current public health and economic crisis we are facing as a state, nation and world is something we have never dealt with before and it will continue to impact our state and local finances for the foreseeable future. Now more than ever we need partnership and communication between all levels of government. I renew my call for the federal government to provide financial assistance to the states and communities hit hard by COVID-19.

Despite the grim outlook, I remain optimistic for our future. We are New York Tough and I believe our resilience, as a state and nation, will pull us through these challenging times.”

A Look at New ‘s Economy from the Comptroller 0613 2020

PPP Flexibility Act – Interim Final Rules Provide Some Clarification, but Leave Important Questions Unanswered

Joshua Steele, attorney with our friends and Associate Members Harris Beach, writes that “the most significant element of the June 11 Interim Final Rules is the clarification it provides on the PPPFA’s requirement that borrowers must spend 60 percent of the PPP loan on covered payroll costs.  Originally, the April 2, 2020 Interim Final Rules indicated that 75 percent of the forgiveness amount of a PPP loan must be attributable to covered payroll costs.  In application, this meant that a borrower that failed to spend at least 75 percent of the loan amount on covered payroll cost would receive a reduced amount of forgiveness.  While the PPPFA lowered that percentage to 60 percent, it also included language indicating that: (1) the 60 percent requirement is based on the total loan amount, not the eligible forgiveness amount; and (2) failing to meet this 60 percent threshold would preclude a borrower from receiving any forgiveness, as opposed to simply resulting in a decrease in forgiveness.”

Read more at Harris Beach

Auto Makers’ Reopening Complicated by Worker Absences Amid Covid Cases

Auto makers are grappling with absent U.S. factory workers and Covid-19 cases at their reopened plants, complicating the companies’ efforts to recoup production lost to the pandemic.

The impact on output has been minimal as many plants aren’t yet operating at full capacity, the companies said. Still, the challenges have required auto makers to adjust shifts and add temporary workers. Such moves highlight the complexities businesses face upon reopening as they look to insulate their workplaces from potential outbreaks while restoring moneymaking operations after weeks of lockdown.

Read more at the WSJ

Best Practices from Ford’s Return to Work Handbook

Having a playbook is always the best strategy, so when Ford Motor Co. had to tackle reopening manufacturing plants they developed a very detailed playbook. The 64-page book, “Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook,” covers an expansive list of topics providing very specific instructions and documentation on how to keep workers safe.

 The workbook is also being given to Fords’ suppliers, business partners and third parties to ensure they are aware of the company’s health and safety practices when onsite at Ford facilities or interacting with Ford personnel. The company considers the playbook a working document that will change to reflect both regulatory guidance and industry practices as they evolve. 

Read the article at IndustryWeek

Read the playbook

A To-Do List for Restarting—and Rethinking—Plants Post COVID-19

While some global strategic consulting experts have already begun offering high-level suggestions on how industrials can operate in a post COVID-19 world, more hands-on advice is available, offering a realistic to-do list to run plants to their fullest potential under the conditions of less-available manpower.

However, being realistic does not mean avoiding the unique opportunity to challenge presuppositions on how plants are operated into the future. In the long run, 2020 presents a golden opportunity to come out of our cocoons and try an approach that is dramatically different in order to adequately navigate uncertain times.

Read more at IndustryWeek

CDC Guidance: Considerations for Events and Gatherings

The CDC has released guidance on large community gatherings and events. As some communities in the United States begin to plan and hold events and gatherings, the CDC offers considerations for enhancing protection of individuals and communities and preventing spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The advice is practical for anyone who is even planning a graduation or family birthday.

Event planners and officials can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Because COVID-19 virus circulation varies in communities, these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.

The guidance can be found here

Deeper Dive: the Economist on The Future of Cities Focusing On NYC and How the Virus Wears Down the Body (Podcast)

Workers and firms have continued to pile into cities like New York, even as travel and telecommuting have become easier, because there is so much to be gained by proximity to other human beings, especially when it comes to the “knowledge economy” reliant on highly skilled, highly educated and highly productive workers.

Read more at The Economist

Slavea Chankova and Kenneth Cukier investigate the ways in which SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes covid-19, wears the body down. Apart from pneumonia, there are other facets to the disease that are less understood such as damage to the kidneys, blood vessels and heart. And, how does covid-19 continue to harm the body—and patients’ mental health— in the long term? Runtime: 26 min.

Listen at the Economist


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Daily Update 85

Cuomo: Phase Three for Five Regions – Percent Testing Positive is Key Metric

In his press briefing today the Governor confirmed that five regions will enter phase three of reopening today, June 12th. Phase three industries include indoor dining in food service establishments and personal care.  These regions include: Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mahawk Valley, North Country and the Southern Tier. The Mid Hudson is likely to enter phase three June 23rd assuming we all remain diligent wearing face coverings, practicing good hygiene and social distancing. 

The most important metric to watch as the State reopens is the daily positive testing rate. To track that metric the State has launched a dashboard showing how many tests have been administered and how many tests were positive as a raw number and a percentage. Currently, all regions are showing low positive rates. The State will monitor the daily test results in all regions to ensure each region can continue through the reopening phases.

Phase three guidelines for these industries can be found here.

The dashboard can be viewed here.

The press release is here

Weekly Unemployment Claims Better Than Expected

Initial claims totaled 1.54 million, compared with the 1.6 million expected from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and a plunge of 355,000 from the previous week’s total just shy of 1.9 million. The four-week moving average, which smooths volatility in the numbers fell by 286,250 to 2 million. Though the total decelerated for the 10th straight week, it still represents a stunningly sharp exodus of workers to the unemployment line over the past three months. There were 705,676 claims filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Those collecting benefits declined by 339,000 to 20.9 million, compared with the crisis peak of 24.9 million during the week of May 9. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 21.9 million, a decrease of 404,750 from a week earlier.

Read more at CNBC

Stock Futures Jump After Thursday’s Sell Off on Wall Street

Stock futures jumped Friday morning, recovering some declines after the three major indices closed out their worst day since mid-March during the regular session Thursday on Wall Street. The rout came as investors nervously eyed rising coronavirus cases in some parts of the country, and considered officials’ warnings of sustained economic damage due to the outbreak’s after-effects. 

By Thursday’s close, the Dow dropped by around 7%, or 1,861 points, for the index’s worst day since March 16 and its fourth largest point-drop on record. Each of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped more than 5% for their worst sessions since mid-March.

Increases in new coronavirus cases in some parts of the country contributed to investors’ worries during Thursday’s session, triggering the steep sell-off in risk assets and among travel and leisure stocks especially. Officials in Houston, Texas suggested they were considering reestablishing stay-at-home orders amid the latest rise in local cases, with Texas having just reported its biggest one-day jump in cases since the pandemic began on Wednesday.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Regeneron Begins First Human Clinical Trials of COVID-19 Antibody ‘Cocktail’

“REGN-COV2 could have a major impact on public health by slowing spread of the virus and providing a needed treatment for those already sick – and could be available much sooner than a vaccine,” said George D. Yancopoulos, co-founder, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron. “The antibody cocktail approach may also have long-term utility for elderly and immuno-compromised patients, who often do not respond well to vaccines. Ultimately, the world needs multiple solutions for COVID-19, and the innovative biopharma industry is collectively working hard to help as many people as possible with a variety of complementary approaches.”

The cocktail consists of two antibodies that are produced in mice that have been genetically modified to have a human immune system. The antibodies being tested to fight COVID-19 are the same as if they had been produced in a human. The two antibodies bind to a protein that the virus uses to attack human cells and block it.

Read more in the Westchester County Business Journal

Meanwhile Another Hudson Valley Pharmaceutical Firm Predicts an October Launch for Its Vaccine

Head of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, said that his company believes they will have a COVID-19 vaccine ready by the end of October, according to the Associated French Press (AFP). 

The company is currently in the clinical trial stage of development, developing their vaccine alongside Germany’s BioNtech. The companies, whose project relies on messenger RNA technology never before used in an approved vaccine, dosed the first humans in Germany earlier in May, and hope to begin a US trial soon, pending regulators’ blessing.

Read more in the Jerusalem Post

Moderna’s Vaccine Starts Human Trial In July 

Moderna told Bloomberg on Thursday that it’s on pace to begin the final-stage clinical trial of its vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 by July. Moderna was the first company to begin human clinical trials of its vaccine candidate in the U.S., and the last stage of its study will include 30,000 people and be conducted in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The aim of the study will be to show definitive clinical proof that Moderna’s vaccine actually does prevent people from developing COVID-19, and, secondarily, that it prevents at least severe symptoms and cases that require hospitalization from materializing.

Read more at Tech Crunch

Global Economic Report: World Bank Says Global GDP Will Fall 5.2% in 2020, but Rebound by 4.2% in 2021

The World Bank forecasts a decline of 5.2% in real global GDP in 2020, following 2.4% growth in 2019. It would be the worst decrease in worldwide growth since the aftermath of World War II, with global economies sharply pulling back on activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. With that said, the global economy should rebound in 2021, with worldwide growth jumping 4.2%. 

Global Manfuactuirng Economic Report 06112020

Chinese Manufacturing Activity Expanded at the Fastest Pace Since January

The expansion is a sign that its economy continues to stabilize. In April, industrial production grew 3.9% year-over-year, the first positive reading so far this year and a definite improvement from the 13.5% and 1.1% declines seen in January/February and March, respectively. At the same time, fixed-asset investment and retail sales declined at slower rates in April, but continued to be negative.

China was the only one of the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods to expand in May, returning to positive territory after pulling lower in April. In the previous month, most of the top 10 markets had contracted at paces that were either the worst since the Great Recession or at record lows. In May, seven of these economies saw improvements, albeit at rates of decline that remained quite severe.

Read more 


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Daily Update 84

Cuomo On Reopening Dashboard, Roles of Businesses and Employees, Importance of Remaining Diligent 

At his press briefing today  Governor Cuomo demonstrated the new dashboard which displays daily test results for each county. The dashboard shows on a daily basis how many tests have been administered and how many tests were positive as a raw number and a percentage. Currently, all regions are showing low positive rates. The State will monitor the daily test results of all regions to ensure each region can continue through the reopening phases.  As each region moves through the reopening phases business owners have a responsibility to provide personal protective equipment and ensure social distancing. Employees have a responsibility to follow the rules and protocols.

Every region of the State is now reopening. The Long Island region is entering phase two today. Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, commercial building management, and outdoor and take-out/delivery food services.

The dashboard can be viewed here

Phase two guidance can be found here

Cuomo on Economy and Infrastructure Projects

Speaking at LaGuardia International Airport in Queens, the Governor was joined by Rick Cotton, Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the two discussed the opening of the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport.

The Governor is fast-tracking the rebuilding of LaGuardia airport. It will be the first major new airport built in the United States since Denver International opened 25 years ago. The project is logistically difficult because the airport needs to remain operational while under construction, not to mention the tiny slip on land upon which it sits. Rick Cotton announced today the rebuild has reached a milestone – opening LaGuardia’s Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall. The new Terminal B is 50% bigger than the terminal it replaced. The Governor wants to energize the economy by starting other large scale development projects. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority used the time during the crisis to complete capital projects while usage was low. The MTA is accelerating $2 billion in capital projects. 

Read the press release

Fed Makes Revisions to Main Street Loan Program

The Federal Reserve Board has announced revisions to the Main Street Lending Program which complements the SBA’s PPP program. This will make it possible for more small and midsize businesses to receive financial support when the program opens, including lowering the minimum loan from $500,000 to $250,000.

Learn more here

Fed Officials Project No Rate Increases Through 2022

Federal Reserve officials projected no plans to raise interest rates through 2022 and said they were committed to providing more support to the economy following shutdowns to contain the coronavirus. Officials also said they would maintain their recent pace of purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities, effectively ending gradual, weekly reductions.

“Over coming months, the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings” of Treasury and mortgage bonds “at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning,” officials said in their policy statement released after the meeting.

The statement also attributed improved conditions in stock and other financial markets to policy measures officials have taken in recent months to keep credit flowing through the economy.

Read more at the WSJ

OECD Warns of “Long-Lasting Scars” From Virus

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of rich countries, warned that the pandemic will leave “long-lasting scars” on the world economy, even if a second wave of infections is avoided. The tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries will be hit particularly hard, affecting low-skilled, young and informal workers. The OECD’s chief economist called for “extraordinary policies” to ensure a sustainable recovery.

Read more at MarketWatch

OSHA Face Coverings Q&A

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a question and answer web page specifically on face coverings and masks in the workplace.

That Q&A can be found here

Phase Three Guidelines Released for Food Services and Personal Care

As regions prepare for Phase 3 of Reopening, New York State has begun sharing guidelines. These guidelines will apply to non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen, essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open, and commercial and recreational activities that have been permitted to operate statewide with restrictions.

Read the guidelines here

GlobalFoundries Learned from Early Pandemic Experience

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries was able to tap into its early pandemic experience with facilities in Europe and Asia to prepare its US plants beginning in January and February. At the factory in Essex Junction, Vt., the daily workforce has been reduced, and employees wear full protective gear after undergoing temperature checks.

Read the full story at Burlington Vermont’s Seven Days

Signs Point to Years Long Employment Recovery

Last week’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed the rate of layoffs falling in April and hiring at an all-time low, and economists warn it might take a decade for the labor market to recover. The quits rate dropped to a nine-year low of 1.4%, a measure of low job market confidence. The labor market was slammed by the closure of nonessential businesses in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many establishments reopened in May, with the economy adding a stunning 2.509 million jobs last month after a record 20.7 million plunge in April, government data showed on Friday.

Economists warn it could take even a decade for the labor market to recoup the jobs lost during the COVID-19 recession. 

Read the full story at Reuters




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COVID 19 Update 83

State Launching New Dashboard to Display Daily Test Results for Each Region and County

The dashboard will show on a daily basis how many tests have been administered and how many tests were positive as a raw number and a percentage. Currently, all regions are showing low positive rates.

In the Mid-Hudson region, there were 73 new positive cases and 0 hospital deaths yesterday. There are currently 274 hospitalizations in the region.

The Governor said that if rates spike in a region, that will be cause for concern. Currently, the State is providing coronavirus tracking information via the Regional UnPause Dashboard, the Early Warning Dashboard, and the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Tracker.

Read the press release 

Congress Acts to Bring More Flexibility to Paycheck Protection Program -More Detail from Harris Beach

SBA and the Department of the Treasury are expected to issue Frequently Asked Questions and interim final rules to implement and clarify the provisions of the PPPFA and its impact on the inconsistent portions of prior interim final rules and guidance, as well as to address numerous outstanding issues and questions pertaining to the PPP and loan forgiveness that were not addressed by the PPPFA. 

Here is what we know 

Pandemic Blamed for Decline in Machine Tool Orders

US orders for metal-cutting, metal-forming and metal-fabricating equipment fell 26.3% month-to-month in April and were down 37.8% from a year earlier, according to a report by the Association for Manufacturing Technology. The coronavirus pandemic was cited for the decline, which was the largest month-over-month drop in a decade.

 Read more at American Machinist

The French Government Unveiled a €15bn ($17bn) Rescue Plan for its Aerospace Industry

The Industry employs some 300,000 people and has been severely affected by the pandemic. The package includes loan guarantees and measures to protect jobs, as well as loans already promised to Air France. Meanwhile Hong Kong’s government will take a 6% stake in Cathay Pacific as part of a $5bn rescue package.

Read more at the Financial Times

Childcare Available for Parents Returning to Work in Putnam

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said Monday that several daycare centers and family day care providers are open and that slots are available.

Parents seeking childcare for their kids as they go back to work should contact the Dutchess/Putnam Care Council. The phone number of the Carmel office is 845-808-1659 while the Poughkeepsie office number is 845-473-4141.

Learn more at at 

Defense Production Act Loan Application Process Now Open

Back in mid-May, President Trump issued an executive order that provides the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation with the authority to issue loans under the Defense Production Act in order to re-shore domestic production of strategic resources needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and to strengthen any relevant domestic supply chains. This week, the DFC announced it is now accepting applications for these loans.

You can learn more about your potential eligibility for these loans and apply here

NAM Liability Reform Campaign Expands

As the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action continues to expand our growing campaign for COVID-19 liability protections, I joined Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, in calling on the Iowa legislature and federal leaders to enact the type of targeted protections that manufacturers need.

You can read more here

Moving from Just in Time to Just in Case

In pursuit of ever-greater efficiency, many businesses de-emphasized supply chain flexibility and resilience. Today’s situation calls for rebalancing priorities. Consider for a moment the farms growing food for commercial users here or in China. Pre Covid-19, these farms were highly efficient and offered products at the lowest possible cost. Today the commercial market has been decimated, and farmers are forced to dump strawberries or cull herds, financial victims of unanticipated change. To withstand a crisis, or better yet to come out of it stronger, balance the low cost and efficiency of the JIT model with the need to be nimble and agile in reacting to market changes.

IndustryWeek offers some components of a “Just in Case” supply chain

Attend today’s Council of Industry supply chain strategies webinar


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COVID 19 Update 82

Mid-Hudson Enters Phase Two Day Today, Statewide Testing Will Increase

Today is the day for Phase two!  Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and phase two in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, and commercial building management.  It is important that all phase two businesses to read and affirm the detailed guidelines for your sector.

Guidance for these industries can be found here.

Reminder – even if you have been open as “essential” all through the pandemic you still must have a reopening plan and certify with the the state.


The State performed 58,054 tests yesterday which resulted in 702 positives cases (1.2%). The State is consistently performing 58,000 or more tests per day and the positive results per day have been below 1.6% for the last four days. Just a few weeks ago New York City was finding 59% of tests returning positive results. The Governor said that with this progress he is confident in reopening New York City. In order to track the spread of the virus, the State is launching an initiative to increase testing and build more test sites. The State will conduct 35,000 tests per day in New York City alone. Anyone who has attended a protest recently should get tested. The State is also focusing on the most impacted zip codes in the City where infection rates are unusually high.

Read the press release

Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

In a rare display of bipartisanship, on June 5, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) in an attempt to address many concerns expressed by the small business community around the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed at providing COVID-19 relief.

On May 27, 2020, the House passed the PPPFA by 417-1 and the Senate approved it by unanimous consent on June 3. The new law addresses flaws in the original PPP program created under the CARES Act.

Read what you need to know in Forbes

Monday Economic Report

Manufacturers added 250k jobs in May.  Other data point to recovery but how fast and how far remains uncertain.

Monday Economic Report 2020-0608

Recession in U.S. Began in February

The U.S. economy entered a recession in February, the group that dates business cycles said Monday, ending the longest American economic expansion on record. Monthly economic activity “reached a clear peak” in February, marking the end of the 128-month expansion that began in June 2009, said the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. It was the longest expansion in records back to 1854.

Read more at the WSJ

World Bank Forecasts World Economy will Shrink by 5.2%

The World Bank predicted that the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year because of the covid-19 pandemic. Output will fall most in rich countries, by 7%, whereas that of poor countries will decline by around 2.5%. The bank warned that the figures could be even worse if lockdown measures are not lifted by the second half of the year.

Over the longer horizon, the deep recessions triggered by the pandemic are expected to leave lasting scars through lower investment, an erosion of human capital through lost work and schooling, and fragmentation of global trade and supply linkages.

Read the press release and report

How Is COVID-19 Impacting Your Community? The Federal Reserve Wants to Hear From You

In April, the Federal Reserve System conducted a survey to better understand the range of challenges facing under-resourced and low-income communities as an effect of COVID-19. The findings are available in Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Communities and the Entities Serving Them and helped us understand how the pandemic is impacting organizations, like yours, supporting community needs. 

The Fed is committed to fielding this survey every eight weeks to report on how the effects of COVID-19 are changing within communities over time. Please take this survey today. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Take the Survey

Sourcing Delays Hamper Electronics Manufacturers

The electronics industry is grappling with coronavirus-related component shortages and delays, which are keeping leading manufacturers from launching products, according to a study by Dimensional Research and Supplyframe. The findings emphasize the need for supply chain resilience and “enabling effective collaboration across sourcing, engineering, and manufacturing,” Supplyframe CEO Steve Flagg said.

Read the full story at Supply Chain Quarterly

Learn more and/or attend the Council of Industry’s Strategic Supply Chain Seminar

Review of OSHA Guidance

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to provide guidance to assist employees and employers with maintaining safe and healthy working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.  This guidance will be particularly useful as states continue to re-open.  We have collected below a list of existing documents, both general and industry-specific, for your use.

Both OSHA and CDC regularly update their webpages with reopening guidance relevant to the business community.  We encourage you to regularly check for updated guidance at:

In addition to the general guidance above, OSHA frequently issues specific guidance tailored to specific industries.  To date, OSHA has released specific guidance for the following industries relevant to Council Members:

read more »

COVID 19 Update 80

Regional Monitoring Groups Looking for “Hot Spots”  to “Tamp Down”

Each region of the state has a panel of community members and state officials tasked with monitoring the spread of the coronavirus in their region. They follow key metrics and are looking for “hot spots” or places where mini-outbreaks are occuring.  The hope is to catch and “tamp down” these hot spots before they become widespread. should your business become connected to a “hot spot” either directly or through and employee, customer, supplier or the like, it will be important for you to have your reopening plan up to date and fully implemented. If you have not yet certified your reopening plan with the state you should do so ASAP

Remember, even if you have been open as “essential” all through the pandemic you still must have a reopening plan and certify with the the state.


A New, More Detailed (if difficult to navigate) Health Metrics Website Shows the Trends in Each Region

The trends look great – let’s hope they stay that way. 

Visit the site

U.S. Labor Market Unexpectedly Improves

The U.S. economy unexpectedly added jobs in May after suffering record losses in the prior month, offering the clearest signal yet that the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was probably over, though the road to recovery could be long.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday also showed the jobless rate falling to 13.3% last month from 14.7% in April, a post World War Two high. But the improvement was unequal, with the unemployment rate for whites posting a record decline, but rising for blacks and Asians.

Read more at Reuters

New York City Reopening: Phase One & Two Guidelines

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for NYC industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase one and phase two.  The New York City region is on track to begin phase one of reopening on June 8th. Phase two is projected to begin two weeks after the start of phase one. The New York City region includes the Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, and Queens counties.

Phase one industries include Construction, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Retail (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off), Manufacturing, and Wholesale Trade. Guidance for these industries can be found here.

Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, commercial building management, and outdoor and take-out/delivery food services.

NYC Guidance for these industries can be found here.

EPA, White House Speed Up Permitting Processes

Infrastructure projects will play a big role in getting Americans back to work and accelerating our recovery. The administration took two actions this week that will speed up the permitting process and help get these projects underway, consistent with the NAM’s advocacy. First, the EPA issued a rule that will protect the nation’s waterways while also ensuring that vital energy infrastructure projects aren’t blocked for political reasons. Then, yesterday, President Trump issued an infrastructure executive order that will prioritize infrastructure projects and help manufacturers invest in our communities while protecting the environment.

Read more at the WSJ

COVID-19 & Workers’ Compensation Q&A Now Available from State Workers Comp Board 

The Board has published a COVID-19 & Workers’ Compensation Q&A document to answer questions about workers’ compensation benefits to employees who get COVID-19 while on the job. This Q&A is available on the Board’s website and its content is outlined below.

FOR EMPLOYEES:  If you believe you became ill with COVID-19 due to your  work, you should tell your employer as soon as possible, file an Employee Claim (Form C-3) with the Board, and see a doctor to obtain a diagnosis. For more details, please see the How Do I File a Claim? section below.

FOR EMPLOYERS:  If a worker reports that they are sick due to a workplace exposure, you must contact your workers’ compensation insurance carrier immediately. The insurance carrier then has 18 days to act on the claim and must begin paying benefits within this time frame if the claim is accepted. Please share this information with your employees.

Visit Board’s COVID Response site

What Will Manufacturing’s New Normal Be After COVID-19?

History teaches us that short-term measures taken in response to global crises lead to changes that last for decades. What most of us consider normal has already fundamentally shifted. Manufacturers who understand and act on this new normal will have ample opportunities for growth.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Webinar: Dealing with Supply Chain Disruption – Strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

The Council of Industry will host a webinar on Wednesday, June 10th Featuring Clarkson University’s Dr. Dennis Yu, Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs & Research, And John Mead, VP at Totalogistix.

We will discuss strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.
Dr. Yu will provide an overview including:
      – Definition of supply chain risks
      – How to assess supply chain vulnerability
      – Key strategies such as mitigation strategies and contingency planning to build a resilient supply chain.
John Mead will provide some real world examples of how his clients have dealt with critical these challenges and implemented these strategies. He will discuss Risk Mitigation by illustrating the qualities of a low risk model and a high risk model as it relates to:
       – Sourcing
       – Warehousing
       – Transportation
 Providing case studies and examples for each.

To register click here

read more »

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


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COVID 19 Update 77

Reopening Update

The Western NY region moved to phase two of reopening yesterday. The Capital District region will move to phase two today.  The Mid-Hudson is on track for phase 2 next week. Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and phase two in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, and commercial building management. Dentists were able to open statewide Tuesday.

The New York City region is on track to begin phase one of reopening on June 8th.  This will mean more than 400,000 jobs are eligible to return. 

The Governor announced that summer day camps can open on June 29th, but no decision has been made on sleep-away camps.

Here is the guidance for phase two industries

Read the governor’s press release

Racism, Protests, Looting, and Manufacturing

At the Governor’s briefing issues related to the coronavirus were once again overcome by the events and social unrest resulting from the death of George Floyd. 

Respect, diversity, empathy, fairness.  These are just some of the words that come to mind when we think of the Hudson Valley Manufacturing Community and its workforce. They are the cornerstones of the leadership training the Council of Industry has provided its members for decades.  While we do not condone violence or destruction of any kind, we stand  with all those who seek respect, fairness and the right to equality of opportunity that our nation has promised for centuries but has not yet been delivered to all our citizens.

We share this sentiment from NAM CEO Jay Timmons: “This is not a time to sit back and wait for action from others. It’s not enough to say ‘this doesn’t concern me,’ or ‘this isn’t my job, my cause, my fight.’ The manufacturing community, and the larger business community—made up of people from every background, every race, every state and every neighborhood in the country—has a responsibility that is as urgent now as at any time when our nation seemed on the edge of destruction. We must be part of the solution—to end the polarization and division that routinely manifests in our country. We must bring our people together in common purpose, to strengthen the values that bind us together, to rebuild our communities, to reinstill faith in ourselves and to ensure that all of our citizens have a right to live safely and securely.”

Council members have long taken the lead in our communities.  Let’s continue to build workplaces and communities based on respect, diversity, empathy, fairness and justice.

Read all of Jay Timmons’ statement

Advocating for Liability Protections

Congress is listening to manufacturers and considering liability protections to protect essential businesses that are doing the right thing and following the best available guidance for operating during the COVID-19 crisis. But they still need to hear directly from manufacturers that this is a priority that requires swift action. You can send your federal lawmakers a message using this tool and urge them to move forward with commonsense and targeted liability protections for manufacturers that have acted in good faith to protect employees while delivering critical products and services.

Contact your legislators

Study: Manufacturers View Supply Chain as Differentiator

The majority of manufacturers say supply chain planning is a competitive differentiator, according to a study by Kinaxis and International Data Corp. The research also found that 65% of businesses say they are already highly resilient, but resiliency will still be a continued priority for the next one to three years. 65% of companies also said they believe that their supply chain planning capabilities are a source of competitive differentiation today. This number falls to 35% by 2023, suggesting that companies either do not view their supply chains as adaptable or they are unconvinced that the resources they have in place today will service them well into the future. 

Read the full story at CSCMP’s Supply Chain

Plan to Attend the Council’s Supply Chain Webinar 

More information is here

IRS Guidance: The Employee Retention Credit

The IRS has released new information on an employer tax credit called . “The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages paid to an employee by an eligible employer experiencing economic hardship related to COVID-19. This credit is for wages paid from 3/13/2020 through 12/31/2020.”

More information on the tax credit can be found here.

Congress, White House Consider a “Return to Work” Bonus

The incentive would pay $450 per week to people who return to work this summer.

Republican lawmakers have repeatedly expressed concern that the increase in unemployment benefits approved by Congress in March rewards workers for staying home and could lead to increased unemployment.  Lawmakers are now considering the bonus to make returning to work more attractive than remaining on unemployment. The idea is to offer an off-ramp from public assistance, without abruptly eliminating federal financial support for millions of people.

There are concerns, however, the bonus money might lure some people back to work who should stay home for health reasons. Other experts wonder if it is unfair to give a bonus to people who have stayed home the last two months instead of rewarding those who have worked through the pandemic at dangerous ‘essential’ jobs, including at grocery stores, hospitals and testing facilities.

Read more in the The Washington Post (subscription) 

Dutchess County Public Transit Returns to Full Service on Saturday, June 6th

Dutchess County Public Transit (DCPT) has announced full bus service will resume for all 13 fixed routes, as well as rail link services, this Saturday, June 6th.    Extensive social distancing and cleaning protocols are in place to protect the health and safety of riders and drivers and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bus fares for all services have been temporarily suspended for a pilot period to allow passengers to adjust to the various safety protocols.  

Read the press release

Reopenings Increase Demand for Protective Materials

Organizations looking to reopen to the public are straining manufacturers’ supply of protective barriers, face masks and hand sanitizer, and some deliveries may take months. Kimberly-Clark is returning to the protective mask market, while Lydall is operating 24 hours a day with more machines to meet demand for its filtering material that goes in face masks.

Read more in The Wall Street Journal


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COVID 19 Update 76

Cases, Hospitalizations, Deaths All Decline, Other Issues Take Center Stage

With new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all steadily declining the Governor again turned his attention to the protests and civil unrest surrounding the Floyd George incident and spent the bulk of  his press briefing discussing it. 

The Western NY region is expected to move to phase two of reopening tomorrow. The public health data is currently being reviewed by global experts to make sure the region can safely move to phase two. The Western NY region includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties.  The Capital District Region is on track to move to phase two on Wednesday. The Capital District region includes Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, and Washington Counties.  Our Mid-Hudson Region is on track for next week. 

Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and phase two in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, and commercial building management. 

The Governor urged all those who are attending protests to wear masks and stay smart as they demonstrate. New York has made tremendous progress over the last 93 days to stop the spread of coronavirus because we took drastic measures, and they need to continue. The Governor said he supports the right of people to protest, but there is concern that large gathering will contribute to spikes in infection rates.  If there is a rise in COVID-19 due to the George Floyd protests, the Governor said, he may shutdown the state again. This could include regions that have already entered into Phase 1 or 2 if those regions’ metrics no longer meet the threshold to remain open.

Guidance Phase two  industries can be found here.

Read the press release 

What Employers Should Know About New Paid Leave Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor has released guidance for employers regarding new paid leave requirements. The law requires most private employers (including nonprofits) that have fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19. These employers will be reimbursed for the cost of providing paid leave through tax credits. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. 

Here’s what employers should know about the law, and resources to help them comply.

Mental Health May Be Big Issue as Employees Return to Work

Employers may find that members of their staff are struggling with mental health issues related to anxiety about returning to work following the shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic, experts say. Attorney Kris Meade of Crowell & Moring said employers will need to exercise flexibility, while attorney Chai Feldblum at Morgan Lewis said workers will need to feel safe discussing their emotional well-being with coworkers and supervisors.

Read more at Human Resource Executive

Senate and Assembly Announce Passage of Major Legislative Package Combating COVID-19 and Protecting New Yorkers

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the Legislature has passed a major legislative package to help support New Yorkers during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and help the state be prepared for future emergencies. The legislation focuses on protecting New Yorkers’ rights, helping them stay in their homes, providing economic relief for struggling workers and businesses, strengthening the health care system and maintaining critical services.

The laundry list of legislation can be found here

NAM Economic Report

Economic indicators released last week continued to show two things. First, the COVID-19 outbreak and the sharp drop in activity have resulted in historic declines for many economic measures, particularly in March and April. Second, the May data points suggest that the worst of those decreases might be behind us, with some encouraging bounce backs from record lows, albeit with ongoing negative challenges remaining.

Monday Economic Report 2020-0601

Webinar: Dealing with Supply Chain Disruption – Strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

No Cost for Members

The Council of Industry will host a webinar on Wednesday, June 10th Featuring Clarkson University’s Dr. Dennis Yu, Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs & Research, And John Mead, VP at Totalogistix.

We will discuss strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.
Dr. Yu will provide an overview including:
      – Definition of supply chain risks
      – How to assess supply chain vulnerability
      – Key strategies such as mitigation strategies and contingency planning to build a resilient supply chain.
John Mead will provide some real world examples of how his clients have dealt with critical these challenges and implemented these strategies. He will discuss Risk Mitigation by illustrating the qualities of a low risk model and a high risk model as it relates to:
       – Sourcing
       – Warehousing
       – Transportation
 Providing case studies and examples for each.

To register click here

Questions to Gauge Supplier Viability

COVID-19 has exposed weak links in the global supply chain, and product manufacturers are taking notice. As the virus runs its course, many manufacturers will likely have suppliers that do not survive. Being confident in your suppliers’ stability needs to be more than a gut-check today. You will need to dig in and conduct your due diligence to understand your suppliers’ financial health and ensure they will be there when you need them.

Alexandria Industries Chief Financial Officer Jon Olson suggests questions that can help assess supplier financial standing, including the diversity of the supplier’s customer base, access to capital and whether the business has been deemed essential.

Read the full story at The Fabricator 


read more »

COVID 19 Update 75

Phase Two Reopening On Track – COVID Takes A Back Seat to George Floyd Protests

Saturday, five regions began phase two of reopening: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier. The industries allowed to reopen as a part of phase two include all office-based jobs, real estate services and certain retail. There are limits and specific guidelines that must be adhered to.

The Capital Region and Western New York are eligible to begin phase two next week. The State will determine if these regions move to phase two based on the public heath data being monitored by the Regional Control Rooms. The Capital Region includes Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, and Washington counties. Western New York includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties. 

Both Saturday and Sunday’s press briefings by Governor Cuomo focused more on the ongoing protests of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer than the pandemic.

The Mid-Hudson region should follow closely behind.

More information on phase two industries and guidelines can be found here. 

The most up-to-date public health data on all the regions is available on the Regional Metrics Dashboard.

Child Care Providers Face New Challenges

As the region started the first of four reopening phases, more parents are seeking child care while preparing to get back to work. However, the coronavirus pandemic has recast the industry, and child care providers face new challenges with precautions and restrictions in place.

Although nearly 40 more centers have reopened in Orange County over the past months and seven are planning to reopen in June, many centers chose to wait until more of the region move into the reopening plan, said Linda Martini, director of the Child Care Council of Orange County.

“Things are in flux right now, so the child care providers are not sure what to do,” Martini said. “They can’t financially open a center if they have only a handful of children in a room.”

Read more at the Times Herald Record

Manufacturing in the Eurozone and China

Manufacturing in the euro zone recovered slightly in May compared with the previous month, but still remains weak. The latest purchasing managers’ index, a gauge of the sector, rose from 33.4 in April to 39.4. Anything below 50 indicates a contraction. Germany recorded the worst score in the bloc, while Italian manufacturing shrank by less than many economists expected.

Read more at The Financial Times

Restarting the world’s biggest manufacturing sector amid the pandemic was a tremendous challenge. Impressively, 99% of major industrial enterprises had resumed production by mid-April. But a survey published on Sunday, the purchasing managers’ index for May, showed that finding enough work to stay busy is proving harder. The PMI was 50.6, barely in expansionary territory (any figure over 50 suggests growth) and particularly weak for this point in a recovery. And business, such as it is, is almost entirely domestic. A gauge for export orders pointed to a deep contraction in global demand, declining for the fifth consecutive month. Given this external weakness, China’s government will face more pressure to stimulate the economy at home. If it cannot, newly reopened factories may shut their doors again.

Read more at CNBC

Masks Probably Slow the Spread of COVID-19, But Wearing One is Mainly An Act of Altruism

…elsewhere in the world, by contrast, there is increasing acceptance that mask-wearing is a good thing. On May 5th, for example, the Royal Society, Britain’s top science academy, concluded that masks “could be an important tool for managing community transmission”. This is not so much because they protect the wearer—the normal reason people may put them on in times of pestilence—but rather because they stop the wearer infecting others.

In this context covid-19’s particular peculiarity—that people who test positive for it often do not have symptoms—is important. Research published last month in Nature Medicine, by Xi He of Guangzhou Medical University and Eric Lau of Hong Kong University, suggests that 44% of cases are caused by transmission from people without symptoms at the time of transmission.

Read more at The Economist

Plexiglass Is the New Hot Commodity as Businesses Try to Reopen

Manufacturers are racing to crank out the hand sanitizer, masks and clear plastic dividers that are emerging as integral elements for reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stepped-up production has sent prices for materials soaring: The alcohol used in sanitizer has tripled in price since January. Wait times for plexiglass-style sheeting are now measured in months rather than weeks. Scores of companies are hunting for fabrics that block virus-laden particles to supply their employees with masks. All told, the $5 billion U.S. market for personal-protection equipment is expected to grow nearly 15% this year from 2019, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm.

Read more in the WSJ

Zoom Planning Stronger Security for Paying Customers

Zoom will strengthen encryption protections for paying customers, an official with the video conferencing provider told Reuters Friday.

Security consultant Alex Stamos confirmed the move Friday after the company initially broached the subject Thursday during a call with civil liberties advocates and anti-sex abuse activists.

Stamos told Reuters the plan was still being finalized and that the company has not reached an ultimate decision on whether anyone beyond paying clients, such as nonprofits or political dissidents, would qualify for the more encrypted accounts.

Read more at The Hill

Zoom Networking – Council of Industry Will Bring Its Networks together Online In June 

The Council of Industry has spent much of the last few month trying to keep our members informed on the latest changes in regulations, guidelines, programs and laws. We hope we have provided you with the information you have needed to keep your businesses safe and, if not profitable than at least functioning. 

The week of June 15th we will be hosting Zoom meetings for our EHS and HR networks.  We will facilitate discussions where you can learn from each other, share experiences, ideas and best practices, and give us some ideas on topics and programs for future meetings.  the strength of the Council of Industry is its members.  Let’s share that strength.

June 16 8:30 – 10:00 EHS NetworkLearn More and Register

June 18 1:00 – 2:30 HR NetworkLearn More and Register

Coronavirus Anxiety is Real, But Schools Have to Try to Reopen: Q&A Randi Weingarten, Head of the American Federation of Teachers. 

This week, as U.S. coronavirus deaths topped 100,000 and President Donald Trump tweeted that “schools in our country should be opened ASAP,” the USA TODAY Editorial Board spoke with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. The teachers’ union has issued detailed guidelines for reopening schools.

Read more or listen at USA Today


read more »

COVID 19 Update 73

The Governor Has Released Executive Order 202.34 Allowing Businesses to Deny Entry or Service to Individuals Not Wearing Face Coverings

Through June 27, 2020, the Order allows any business operator or owner the discretion to enforce a previous directive which requires any individual over age two, and able to medically tolerate a face-covering, be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place, including the right to deny entry to those not wearing a mask. It also does not prohibit or limit the right of State and local enforcement authorities from imposing fines or other penalties for any violation of the directive.

 The Governor did not make any comments on the question which is on many minds, namely will any region move into Phase 2 Friday? the 29th will mark two weeks from when the first regions entered Phase 1. This does not mean they will not still qualify and begin entering Phase 2 tomorrow, but that has not been confirmed by the Governor. 

Empire State Development (ESD) has released guidelines for the Commercial Building Management industry. ESD is continuing to release guidelines for phase two businesses and we will update you as new information becomes available.

Read the press release

See Phase 2 Guidelines to date

The CDC Releases New Resource with Tools and Strategies for Offices to Reopen

The resource is intended to supplement the regularly updated CDC guidance for businesses and employers. For manufacturing settings, it is vital to continue following the CDC and OSHA’s interim guidance for manufacturing workers and employers

You can find information for cleaning and disinfecting workplaces here, along with printable resources. You can also refer to the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s “New Operational Practices to Consider in the Time of COVID-19” for ways manufacturers are meeting and exceeding NYS, CDC and OSHA guidelines.

We urge Hudson Valley manufacturers to take all CDC-issued guidance seriously and to implement the strategies presented. These strategies represent the best science and thinking around protecting the workforce and the public from COVID-19. It is important for the strength of the manufacturing sector, the renewal of the economy and the return to school for our future workforce that we all maintain workplace and community protective measures. Manufactures have set the example nationwide.  We need to continue to do so – especially as some restrictions are lifted around the country. 

Survey: Manufacturers Face Challenge but Continued Operations

Despite a historic drop in optimism—to 33.9% from last quarter’s 75.6%—and challenging business conditions, the vast majority (98.7%) of manufacturers have continued or only temporarily halted operations according to the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2020.

The survey also shows that manufacturers are finding innovative solutions to keep businesses running and to protect workers and communities:

  • Almost 22% are retooling to produce personal protective equipment
  • 67% are reengineering processes to reflect COVID-19 safety protocols
  • 12% are completely reevaluating the mission of the firm

See the survey results

Durable-Goods Orders Plunge Again

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods dropped 17.2% last month after falling 16.6% in March. Excluding orders for transportation equipment, which can be volatile from month to month, durable goods orders fell 7.4%.

New orders for cars, trucks and auto parts shrank 52.8%. 

A category that tracks business investment — orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft — decreased 5.8% after falling 1.1% in March.

Read more from The Associated Press

Employment Discrimination Laws and COVID-19: A Webinar with the EEOC

CI Members are invited to join the NAM Wednesday, June 3rd at 11:00 am EST for a presentation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on what manufacturers need to know about discrimination laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrew Maunz, Legal Counsel of the EEOC, will discuss what employment policies businesses need to consider as they are navigating the pandemic.

Mr. Maunz will provide an overview of the information the Commission has issued since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There will be a Q and A session at the end of the program.

Register here

Fed: Workers Reluctant to Return to Jobs

Mass unemployment that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic has been compounded by people who don’t want to come back to work, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic summary of the national economy. With the unemployment rate through April at a post-World War II record 14.7% and 20.5 million layoffs during the month, workers are reluctant to head back to their jobs for a number of reasons, the central bank noted in its “Beige Book” report.

Business leaders “cited challenges in bringing employees back to work, including workers’ health concerns, limited access to childcare, and generous unemployment insurance benefits,” the report said

Read more at CNBC 

8 Views: Pandemic Gives HR leaders a Different Perspective

HR leaders say the pandemic has sharpened their focus on compassion, collaboration, company values and personal connections.

“This experience is bringing your whole self to work on steroids,” said Christy Lake. “Suddenly, our work, family, school, and social lives are all happening in a single space, and employees are juggling those often conflicting responsibilities. Before, the focus for managers and leaders was on how to create a work environment that felt safe for everyone to be themselves. Now, we’re literally seeing into employees’ homes and lives in a direct, intimate way. This means managers are truly responsible for the whole human, not just the employee.” 

Read more at Forbes 

Webinar: Your Place, Your People, Your Plan

Our Friend and Associate Member HRP Associates are presenting a webinar to share insight from their leading EHS Consultant and a Risk Management and Insurance Broker. As businesses bring back their employees – this webinar will address health and safety best practices and resources, as well as Compliance, Human Resources and Culture issues to consider.

June 4, 2020, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (EST)

Register Here


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COVID 19 Update 71

Cuomo: Regional Monitoring Key To Keeping the Reopening On Track 

In regions that have started to reopen, the State is taking a two-track approach to make sure progress continues.

  1. Monitor the Reopening: The Regional Control rooms will closely monitor any new infections and aggressively trace contacts to make sure the infection rate stays low.
  2. “Supercharge Reopening”: Make sure economic recovery affects everyone – not just those at the top of the economy. The government can stimulate the economy by investing in infrastructure and creating new public projects. 

    The State will fast-track the Penn Station and LaGuardia airport infrastructure projects to create jobs and improve transportation hubs. These projects have already generated thousands of jobs and will continue to benefit the economy. The Governor asked for federal assistance to also add an air-train to the LaGuardia airport project. The Governor called for Federal approval and assistance are also needed for the Second Avenue Subway and the Cross-Hudson Tunnels projects that the State has proposed and will meet with President Trump tomorrow to discuss these projects and general federal assistance to the state. 

    Speaking at the New York Stock Exchange as it Reopens for In-Person Trading the Governor said that Memorial Day weekend 2020 will be remembered as the weekend we turned the corner and marked the beginning of the reopening of New York.

    Read the press release

    New York State Legislative Session

    The State Senate and Assembly held committee meetings Tuesday to advance a number of bills relating to the coronavirus crisis. Both Houses will also hold session today (5/27) and Thursday (5/28) to pass the bills. The legislature will be following the rules on remote voting passed in March that were used to pass the State Budget while following social distancing protocols.

    Read more in the Buffalo News

    NY Fed President Williams on the Economy in the Time of Coronavirus

    In a speech to regional stakeholders, President Williams described the profound effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the local, national, and global economy and the Fed’s response to help support households and business. He described the diversity of New York State’s economy, and spoke about the millions of workers in industries such as tourism, manufacturing, and retail, who have faced reduced hours or wages. “As social distancing measures are relaxed, we will get a better understanding of how different industries are affected,” he said. “What we don’t know is what the shape or timescale of the recovery will be,” he said, but told listeners that “you can be assured of one thing: our unwavering commitment to limit the economic damage from the pandemic and foster conditions for a strong and sustained recovery.”

    Read more at the NY Fed

    SBA Releases Guidance on PPP Loan Forgiveness and Review, Updated Numbers

    The Small Business Administration has released new guidance on loan forgiveness and loan review under the Paycheck Protection Program. This guidance is meant to help inform borrowers who are completing the recently released loan forgiveness application form. The loan forgiveness rule provides further instructions for filling out the forgiveness application, while the loan review rule outlines how the SBA will determine eligibility for the PPP and for PPP loan forgiveness.

    Interim Final Rule on Loan Forgiveness (Released May 22, 2020)
    Interim Final Rule on Loan Review Procedures and Related Borrower Responsibilities (Released May 22, 2020)

    In total, the SBA guaranteed 4,426,118 Paycheck Protection Program loans through May 23, 2020. For more information on PPP loan activity, click here.

    Report: EIDL Loans as of 5-23-20

    WSJ: For Economy Worst of Coronavirus Shutdowns May Be Over

    Spending on hotels, restaurants, airlines and other industries hurt by social distancing remains low, but appears to be picking up. The number of travelers passing through Transportation Security Administration security screening checkpoints fell to 87,534 on April 14, 96% below the same day a year earlier. But by May 24, the figure had more than tripled to 267,451, although that is still down 87% from the same day a year earlier. Meanwhile, data from online restaurant-booking company OpenTable shows diners are beginning to return in several states.

    “We’re past the trough in terms of peak damage,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, with high-frequency indicators showing “a burgeoning rebound in terms of how much people are spending.”

    Read More at the WSJ

    When Workers on Unemployment Refuse to Return

    As the economy begins to slowly reopen some employees who are recalled to work may refuse to do so because current unemployment benefits are higher than what they might earn or they fear for their safety, says attorney Peter Goetschel of the law firm of Vinson & Elkins.  Evidence has also surfaced of massive organized fraud perpetrated against state unemployment systems, according to recent news reports. In addition, the U.S. Secret Service has warned its field offices that a well-organized Nigerian crime ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by committing large-scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs that could result in potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    When it comes to the situation involving actual employees who refuse to return to work, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance on how such cases should be handled by state unemployment agencies: If a worker refuses to return to work because they want to continue to collect state and federal unemployment benefits, then they are no longer eligible for the supplemental federal benefits, DOL says.

    Read more at EHS

    NAM Releases Supply Chain Policy Recommendations

    As part of its “American Renewal Action Plan,” the NAM has provided new details on our “Supply Chain Policy Recommendations” for strengthening the manufacturing supply chain in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations will help policymakers boost long-term economic growth by adopting incentives that make the United States a more attractive place for manufacturing investment. And that’s the key part—incentives. Leaders in both parties will be looking to strengthen the supply chain and accelerate onshoring. NAM and its affiliates like the Council of Industry want to make sure that they do so in a constructive, rather than punitive, way that incentivizes companies to create the next job or invest the next dollar here in the United States.

    The recommendations, which have been provided to the White House and Congress, include a new tax credit that rewards investments in workforce, machinery, equipment and innovation made over the next five years; skills training and recruitment benefits; policies to support innovation; tax law changes to ensure that business loans and purchases of machinery remain affordable; surplus property opportunities for manufacturers; an annual review of U.S. competitiveness; and improvements to the federal permitting process that support sustainability while increasing collaboration among stakeholders and streamlining the agency review process.

    Read more at NAM


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