COVID-19 Update


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Update                     April 1, 2020

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Dear friends,

Thank you for the steps you are taking to protect yourself, loved ones and vulnerable neighbors during this difficult time. By staying home and healthy you are slowing the spread of COVID-19, alleviating the strain on our medical supplies, healthcare facilities and frontline workers. When you stay home, you are saving lives!

    With passage last week of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress agreed on a $2 trillion economic relief plan. In Oregon, the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response developed recommendations to the Governor for an emergency relief package to complement federal relief and provide immediate assistance to Oregonians and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The committee's proposal includes rental and mortgage assistance, as well as support for Oregonians seeking food assistance and other necessities. It also includes expanded protections against residential and commercial evictions, flexible funds to help small businesses, as well as other emergency-related statutory fixes. Timing and logistics for a special legislative session is still being considered by the Governor as more information is received on the CARES Act. (The Act is more than 800 pages long.)

    Summarized below are overviews of elements of the CARES Act for small businesses and employees. The brother of one of my Senate colleagues made this clear guidance video on how businesses can benefit from the Act. (Credit to Sen. Sara Gelser and her brother, James Acres, for sharing!)

    This installment of my weekly COVID-19 update is focused on unemployment and small business support. The Oregon Employment Department has created a webpage for COVID-19 employment issues and benefits, here. Business Oregon has a webpage with regularly-updated COVID-19 resources, hereThe U.S. Small Business Administration is offering economic injury disaster loans, applications for which are can be accessed, here.

    You may have heard –– literally –– that some cities have organized a campaign to encourage public acknowledgment of our frontline and essential workforce with applause at 7 p.m. each evening. Please consider joining your neighbors from your porch or window doors to cheer on those who are keeping us safe!

    Amid COVID-19, a national census is still underway. For those who have not already done so, please visit to participate and ensure that you are counted! While there's no deadline, starting on May 27 the Census Bureau plans to interview homes that haven't responded, so please be sure to participate by then to avoid a dreaded door knock during this era of social distancing!

    Below you will find information on:

- Latest Oregon COVID-19 Infection Data
    - Job Loss and Health Insurance Coverage
    - CARES Act: Small Business Assistance
    - CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program
    - CARES Act: Unemployment
    - Primary Resource Links

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Latest Oregon COVID-19 Infection Data

    As of April 1, 2020, our state has experience the following number of positive cases and death attributable to COVID-19:

  • 736 cases in Oregon
  • 14,868 people tested for COVID-19 in Oregon
  • 19 deaths reported in Oregon

Job Loss and Health Insurance Coverage

    Many Oregonians are experiencing layoffs, reduced working hours, and job uncertainty due to COVID-19. For those with employer-based health insurance, this can mean the loss of access to health care when it's most needed. The Oregon Health Authority has put together a list of ways that workers with employer-based insurance can maintain coverage after a layoff or reduction in hours, available here.

CARES Act: Small Business Assistance

    The CARES Act contains several appropriations related to small business assistance totaling $350 billion. Here are the components:

  • Small Business Administration Loan Program Expansion
    • For eligibility purposes, the Act requires lenders to –– instead of determining repayment ability, which is not possible during this crisis –– determine whether a business was operational on February 15, 2020, and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, or a paid independent contractor.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (detailed in the next section)

  • Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans
    • The Act expands eligibility for access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans to include Tribal businesses, cooperatives, and employee stock ownership plans with fewer than 500 employees.

  • Emergency grant payment distributions
    • This emergency grant allows a business that has applied for an economic injury disaster loans due to COVID-19 to request an advance on that loan –– of not more than $10,000 –– which the SBA must distribute within three days.

CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program

    One component of the CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program, consisting of federally guaranteed loans for qualifying small and medium businesses. The program is intended to help businesses continue to provide their employees with payroll and allow them to retain their employees during the COVID-19 emergency.

    The Paycheck Protection Program allows credit unions and other insured lenders to issue Paycheck Protection Loans, which are backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Small Business Act. The CARES Act modifies the SBA guarantee of loans made under Paycheck Protection Program to 100 percent, creating a coverage period from February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020.

    Those eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program include:

  • Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees
  • 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organizations with 500 or fewer employees
  • 501(c)(19) Veteran's organizations with 500 or fewer employees
  • Tribal business concerns with 500 or fewer employees
  • Sole-proprietors
  • Independent contractors
  • Self-employed individuals

In general the Paycheck Protection Program loans may be used for:

  • Payroll costs
  • Costs related to continuation of group health care benefits, paid sick leave, paid family or medical leave, and insurance premiums
  • Employee salaries, commissions, or similar compensation
  • Payments of interest on any mortgage obligation, provided that it does not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on the mortgage obligation
  • Rent or lease payments;
  • Utilities
  • Interest on any debt obligation incurred before the covered period

    It is expected that the U.S. Department of Treasury and the SBA will release guidance in the coming weeks to provide further detail on the program. This guidance may make changes to the summary above.

CARES Act: Unemployment

    While implementation of the CARES Act still being worked out, here are some key components for those facing 

  • Support for unemployment compensation for nonprofit organizations and state, tribal, and local governments. Most nonprofits, tribes and governmental entities do not pay per-worker unemployment taxes and instead have "reimbursable arrangements" with state unemployment programs, which require them to reimburse the state for 100 percent of the cost of unemployment compensation paid to their furloughed or laid off workers. During this period of the national emergency, the CARES Act allows the federal government to pay 50 percent of the reimbursement for those workers so that their employers can follow public health recommendations. Workers at such organizations are also eligible for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement ($600 a week).

  • Expanded "work sharing" programs to provide partial benefits to individuals with reduced hours. The federal government is temporarily providing full funding for states with short-time compensation or work sharing programs in law. Work share programs allow employers to voluntarily make an agreement with the state unemployment office to prevent layoffs by reducing employee hours. Workers with reduced hours are eligible for partial state unemployment compensation benefits.

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided $1 billion in administrative assistance to states to improve the administrative capabilities and speed of unemployment insurance offices.

Primary Resource Links

    Here's a list of state and county resources that you may find useful:

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