We hope this message finds you well and in good health during the ongoing challenges facing our communities. This correspondence will provide an update on the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act signed into law by President Trump on April 24. It will also touch on recent developments at the state level impacting the potential re-opening of certain parts of the economy.
Stimulus Package 3.5
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act has been given the nickname “Stimulus Package 3.5” by a number of analysts since the legislation provides additional funding for certain programs contained in the CARES Act, which served as the third stimulus package signed into law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights from the legislation include:
- The legislation has an estimated price tag of $484 billion.
- It provides an additional $310 billion of funding for the small business Paycheck Protection Program, increasing the total funds allocated to this program to $659 billion.
- $60 billion of the total additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program must be administered by community-based lenders, small banks, and credit unions.
- $50 billion has been provided for additional Emergency Economic Injury Disaster loans administered by the Small Business Administration.
- The authorization level for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster grants has been increased by $10 billion.
- $75 billion has been earmarked for reimbursement to hospitals and healthcare providers to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue.
- $25 billion is set aside for COVID-19 related testing.
- Congress is now turning its attention to negotiations for a “Phase 4” stimulus package. Since the passage of the first COVID-19 related stimulus package on March 6, the federal government has spent an estimated $2.8 trillion on COVID-19 related fiscal stimulus.
Gradual Re-opening of State Economies
As stay-at-home orders and the closure of non-essential businesses continue to remain in effect in many parts of the country, state governors are beginning to consider when and how to re-open their economies. Below are highlights from recent re-opening considerations for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey.
On April 22, Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania released a framework for re-opening the state with May 8 as the targeted start date for a gradual re-opening of some counties and regions. Under this plan, the Wolf administration will assign a red, yellow, or green color to each county or region based on conditions present. The administration will first study conditions in the northcentral and northwestern regions of the state. Currently, the entire state falls under the “red” designation. Key provisions of the various color-coded designations include:
- Only life-sustaining businesses may be open.
- Schools are closed for in-person instruction.
- Stay-at-home orders are in effect.
- Large gatherings are prohibited.
- Telework must continue where feasible.
- Businesses with in-person operations must follow safety orders.
- Schools remain closed for in-person instruction.
- Stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.
- Large gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited.
- In-person retail is allowed but curbside/delivery methods are preferred.
- Indoor recreation, health, and wellness facilities and entertainment facilities remain closed.
- Restaurants and bars continue to be limited to carry out and delivery activities only.
- Most restrictions are eased under this phase in which stay-at-home and business closure orders are lifted.
- All businesses and individuals are required to follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines.
Additional information on the framework can be found by clicking here.
Governor DeWine of Ohio recently indicated that he plans to partially re-open Ohio’s economy on May 1. On April 27, the governor released more details of his administration’s plan to re-open the economy. DeWine has indicated that his goal is to re-open the state slowly, getting as many people back to work as possible with the least amount of health damage.
New Jersey has been one of the hardest hit states from the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s case rate remains elevated. As a result, Governor Murphy has recently indicated that the re-opening of New Jersey’s economy is “weeks away.” On April 27, the governor outlined re-opening benchmarks that will be evaluated by his administration in determining when to re-open the state.
We realize that as the national and local dialogue around re-opening is occurring, the information flow seems almost continuous, at times confusing and hard to follow, and sometimes even contradictory. With these summaries we are seeking to provide you with a helpful high level overview of recent developments.
At JFS, we continue to stand ready to help guide you through these challenging times, and we welcome your questions. We remain grateful for the trust that you place in us each and every day and we wish you and your families’ health and safety in the weeks and months ahead.
Your advisory team is here to address your specific needs and remains ready, willing, and able to help any of your friends or family in this unusual and challenging environment. We encourage you to forward this to a family member, friend, or colleague you believe would find the information helpful and talk with your advisor about the best way to connect us, so that they can get the help they need. During times like this, great advice adds value by preventing financial mistakes and taking advantage of opportunities that can impact a lifetime of goals.