June 5, 2020

Tune in this Saturday June 6th to Governor Charlie Baker’s Daily COVID-19 Update press conference where he will announce the reopening date for Phase 2, retail and restaurants limited to outdoor seating.  

REMINDER: All Businesses Must Meet State Self-Certification Requirements to Reopen
In order to reopen, all businesses must comply with:

  1. The Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces,
  2. Any additional sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices, and
  3. Complete and post the following:    
  • COVID-19 control plan template – Template that satisfies the written control plan requirement for self-certification
  • Compliance attestation poster – Poster that customer facing businesses are required to print, sign, and post in an area within the business premises that is visible to workers and visitors
  • Employer and Worker posters – Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises to describe the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting 

The general safety standards are supplemented by the sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices, which provide further details and limited exceptions and are released in as the phases advance.  Here are the protocols for retailers and restaurants permitted to reopen in Phase 2:


Essential businesses that were already operating and providing Essential Services were required to comply with the mandatory safety standards by May 25, 2020. 
Retailers that were already operating and providing Essential Services now will be required to comply with these sector-specific safety protocols within one week of the date that retailers are authorized to reopen pursuant to the Governor’s Phase II Reopening Order.
Visit the Reopening Massachusetts site and find the General Business Guidance for all the information MA businesses need to meet the self-certification requirement to reopen.


Pioneer Institute Requests RAM Members
to Participate in Joint Survey


As U.S. officials rush to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we must also assess the dramatic toll this pandemic has had on our local economies. Pioneer Institute understands that while the economic damage from the disease was swift, the recovery will be much slower. To get businesses back open and moving forward in this new environment, Massachusetts leaders will need the information necessary to craft clear, effective strategies aimed towards helping companies retain revenue, reopen, and rehire workers who are currently out of a job.
Pioneer is teaming up with RAM to provide this information by polling RAM members – the state’s business leaders – on ways the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their companies, as well as rank potential policy responses as the state reopens for business. 
Please fill out this RAM-Pioneer survey to ensure our state decision makers understand the full scope of the plight your businesses are facing, as well as the specific strategies you feel are essential to reopening and rehiring as we navigate the pandemic.
Thank you for helping us gain the practical knowledge to advance short- and long-term policy changes to reopen and rebuild the Massachusetts economy and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as a stronger state.


Congress Approves Changes to
Paycheck Protection Program


Earlier this week Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act designed to loosen the program’s strict rules on loan forgiveness.  The changes will provide relief to countless program participants currently unable to take full advantage of the program due to ongoing government shut-down orders.  The legislation now heads to the President’s desk where is it expected to be signed.  The law will become effective immediately upon his signature. 

Key changes to the program include

  • Extending from 8 weeks to 24 weeks the period during which borrowers may make forgiveness eligible expenditures;
  • Reducing the requirement that 75% percent of loan proceeds be used for payroll costs to remain eligible for forgiveness.  The new ratio requires 60% on payroll costs allowing 40% to be used for other qualified purposes;
  • Extending the deadline for borrowers to eliminate reductions in employment and wages, that would otherwise reduce the forgivable portion of the loan, from June 30th to December 31st;
  • Providing an exemption from forgiveness reductions when employment levels cannot be restored due to the borrower's good faith inability to rehire or find replacement employees or inability to resume normal operations due to federal rules related to COVID-19;
  • Allowing recipients to defer payments until they receive compensation for forgiven amounts;
  • Increasing the term for the unforgiven portion of the loan to a period of 5 years.


RAM anticipates additional guidance necessary to implement these changes will be forthcoming from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department over the next few weeks.  Members participating in PPP are strongly advised to monitor RAM communications and regularly check the RAM website for further updates.