COVID-19 ToolKit

Home - Featured - COVID-19 ToolKit

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Members:

It has been a difficult couple of weeks, with the world reacting with uncertainty to COVID-19 and the situation is changing by the day and even the hour. Please know that the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce understands the strains and confusion our members, your employees, and customers are going through. We have been closely monitoring the outbreak and its impact on our members and communities. Our commitment lies with serving you and our region in any capacity we can during this unprecedented time.

I wanted to provide you with an update on how we at the PACC are responding. This is our plan as of now, but clearly things could change as new information arises.

It is important that our members remain safe and secure from any potential exposure to COVID-19 therefore the Chamber has cancelled all events and meetings for the month of March including our Business Expo, Ribbon Cutting, Restaurant Week and Educational programming. We will reschedule all events to a date which will be determined. We will be closely monitoring the situation and take any necessary precautions regarding April & May events and meetings as needed. We will be working on future virtual events that will allow member engagement. Please stay tuned for more information or visit our website for the status of our programs.

In the interest of public safety and the safety of our employees and community the Chamber offices will be closed to the public. However, all members of the staff are available via email or phone, Monday – Friday 8 am – 4 pm. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time with any questions!

Our team is strategizing best ways to service our members during this challenging time, and different marketing campaigns to support small businesses in recovering from the disruption. We will be in constant communication with our members and community via email and social media. Please communicate to a member of the Chamber team if you are open, any changes to your schedule and what additional precautions you are taking to service the community safely. We will be launching creative opportunities for our members including virtual meetings, networking opportunities, and more as as social engagement during a time of isolation is so important.

COVID-19 MA Advisories and Info:

Governor Baker announced a statewide stay-at-home order effective at 12pm on Tuesday, March 24 through Tuesday, April 7 at 12pm. All businesses that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” must close their physical facilities to workers and the public.

  • On March 18, the state adopted a law to temporarily waive the one-week waiting period for receiving unemployment benefits for those workers who are separated from work due to either the COVID-19 outbreak or the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency. This change is retroactive to March 10, 2020. Visit the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 unemployment information webpage

  • On March 18, the state adopted a law to temporarily waive the one-week waiting period for receiving unemployment benefits for those workers who are separated from work due to either the COVID-19 outbreak or the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency. This change is retroactive to March 10, 2020. Visit the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 unemployment information webpage

  • The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Unemployment Assistance will host virtual town hall meetings the week of March 23 to provide a step-by-step overview of submitting an unemployment claim.

For small businesses, the state has postponed the collection of regular sales, meals, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. All penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived. The Department of Revenue is drafting emergency regulations to implement these relief measures, and they are expected to be finalized before Friday, March 20, 2020.

  • Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes.

  • Businesses, that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the state’s small business disaster declaration and will begin approving low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Massachusetts small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. Click here to apply online or to receive additional disaster assistance information. Applications are due on or before December 18, 2020.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue will waive any late-file or late-payment penalties for returns and payment due for meals and room occupancy taxes between March 20 and May 31, 2020.

Attorney General Maura Healey filed an amendment to regulation 940 CMR 3:18 immediately prohibiting price gouging of goods and services deemed necessary for public health and safety during a statewide or national emergency, including the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • On March 15th, Governor Baker filed an executive order temporarily expanding access to telehealth services during the State of Emergency. Under the order, all commercial insurers are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services in the same manner they cover in-person services. In addition, insurers must cover COVID-19 related testing and treatment without requiring cost-sharing, such as a co-pay, and without requiring prior-authorizations.

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced $200 million worth of accelerated FY20 and FY21 payments for MassHealth’s safety-net health care providers. The immediate advanced funding is meant to ensure the health care system can continue providing necessary resources to patients.

  • The Massachusetts Health Connector has initiated an extended enrollment period for anyone without health insurance to enroll. Click here to apply. The Division of Insurance (DOI) also created a special enrollment period for anyone seeking to shop for individual coverage in the off-Exchange individual market. Both special enrollment periods will run through April 25. Loss of employment-based coverage is a qualifying event to get coverage through the Health Connector. The worker losing work-based coverage has 60 days before or after the loss of that coverage to obtain coverage through the Health Connector. Applications must be submitted by the 23rd of the month in order to secure coverage for the following month.

  • Massachusetts filed a waiver request with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that will give the state and MassHealth additional flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Governor Baker signed a new emergency order that declares any occupational or professional licenses of individuals that are in good standing and that would otherwise be up for renewal during the COVID-19 emergency shall be extended for 90 days after the end of the public health emergency.

The Baker-Polito Administration announced four new emergency orders to expedite the onboarding of more licensed health care professionals during the COVID-19 emergency. These orders, among other directives, allow licenses of certain retired physicians to be reactivated and for providers licensed in other states to obtain emergency licenses to practice in person or through telemedicine. The full orders are available below: 

On March 18, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) to provide relief for employers and individuals. Importantly, as a result of the increased funding for health services, Massachusetts will receive an additional $1.08 billion in calendar year 2020 for MassHealth. Other key provisions are:

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Economic uncertainty and an expectation of a drop in tax revenue is impacting the drafting of an FY 2021 budget. After Governor Baker filed his proposed budget in January, the House was expected to put forth its own version in April. Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means, has said that it is unlikely that the House will have a budget prepared by April. Adding to the uncertainty, legislators are grappling with how to debate and vote on legislation given social distancing and other health guidelines.

  • Unemployment Compensation –

    gives states flexibility to shorten required waiting periods and adjust eligibility tests

  • Paid Sick Leave –

    requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks of paid sick leave on top of existing sick time benefits, to be refunded via tax credit on the employer’s quarterly tax filing. There are provisions that dictate eligibility and rates of pay

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave –

    requires most employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to be refunded fully via tax credit, and includes an additional credit to cover the cost of the employee’s health

  • Provisions for Diagnostic Testing –

    extends COVID-19 diagnostic testing at no cost to individuals insured by private plans, Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, Veterans programs, Indian Health Services, federal employees and to reimburse the cost of testing to uninsured individuals

  • Health Services –

    increases federal funding for state and territory Medicaid allotments including more than $1 billion for Massachusetts

  • School Nutrition Programs, WIC, SNAP, Senior Food Programs –

    increases funding for key food provision programs and suspends work and work training requirements for SNAP eligibility requirements; provides authority for state program waivers

  • Medical Devices Liability –

    provides limited liability protection for medical device manufacturers producing personal respiratory devices

As of March 18, 2020 the Internal Revenue Service announced a delayed deadline of July 15, 2020 for income tax payment in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on March 20, 2020 that the filing deadline would also be postponed to July 15, 2020. The IRS also announced a temporary closure of all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and has discontinued face-to-face services nationwide.

The Federal Reserve announced several new initiatives to support the economy:

  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will assist in market stabilization by purchasing Treasury securities and market-backed mortgages. The FOMC will continue to offer large-scale overnight and term purchase agreements and will use all available tools to enable the flow of credit to individuals and businesses.

  • Encourage the flow of credit to individuals and businesses through the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) by establishing new programs and $300 billion in new funding.

  • Establishment of three new facilities to support the flow of credit to large employers, consumers, and businesses and for new bond and loan issuance: the Primary market Corporate Credit Facility (PMCCF), the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

  • Expansion of the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF) to include a wide range of securities.

  • Expansion of the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF).

The Federal Reserve will soon announce a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses. 

On March 20, 2020 the President announced that the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada will be closed to nonessential travel beginning at midnight on Sunday, March 22, 2020.  

The Department of State announced a Global Level 4 Health Advisory asking citizens to avoid all international travel. This follows an earlier announcement that the Department of State had authorized U.S. diplomatic personnel and family to depart from any post.

The Federal Reserve announced several new initiatives to support the economy:

  • On March 20, 2020 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that states may submit a waiver to bypass standardized testing for students impacted by school closures.

  • The Federal government announced that payments on federally held student loans may be placed on hold and interest will be waived for at least 60 days.

  • Establishment of three new facilities to support the flow of credit to large employers, consumers, and businesses and for new bond and loan issuance: the Primary market Corporate Credit Facility (PMCCF), the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

  • Expansion of the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF) to include a wide range of securities.

  • Expansion of the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF).

The Federal Reserve will soon announce a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses. 

The President has issued a series of proclamations related to COVID-19. On March 13, he declared a national State of Emergency that, in combination with Secretary Alex Azar’s previously declared National Public Health Emergency, can loosen regulatory requirements to provide resources to impacted individuals through federal and state programs including Medicare and Medicaid, and make federal aid available to states.

Most PACC Members are open and practicing additional sanitation practices, please support those business in addition to the lists provided.  Please visit the membership database for a complete listing. We advise you to call the business directly for hours of operation and services.

We also encourage all members to share their updates on the Chamber’s What’s Happening? – Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce Member News & Events Official Facebook Page

We will keep you up to date on all online resources, as guidance and information as it becomes available. We encourage you to continue to monitor the outbreak and implement strategies to help protect your customers and employees, with the least possible impact to your operations. We have gathered important links to best prepare you and to address the impacts of the COVID-19.

We are committed to helping you get through this. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can help.

Stay well and all the best,

Amy Naples

The Plymouth Recovery Task Force seeks your opinion and guidance as we look to bring together a Reopening plan for the Town of Plymouth. We hope that through collective action, we can ease the burden and make positive impacts together on our local economy. The Plymouth Recovery Task Force team was created to address economic issues that are specific to citizens, workers and businesses in Plymouth impacted by COVID-19.

Please take the survey below that pertains to you.

Business SurveyPublic Survey

Thank You !

Guides

Articles

Remote Working Information, Tools & Technology

Accounting

  • QuickBooks Online – $12-75

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

  • Gusto – $6-12/per user

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

All-Inclusive

  • Google Suite/Hangouts – $6-25/per user

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Audio/Phone | Instant Messaging | Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

    In response to COVID-19 through July 1:  free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive

  • Office 365/Teams – $0-12.50/per user

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Instant Messaging | Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

    In response to COVID-19: Beginning March 10, Microsoft is rolling out updates to the free version of Teams that will lift restrictions on user limits.

Communication

  • Zoom – $0-19.99

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar | Security/Encryption

    In response to COVID-19: free for educators to move toward virtual learning

  • Zoom Phone – $14.99

    Services Provided: Audio/Phone | Security/Encryption

  • Slack – $0-12.50

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Instant Messaging | Information Storage/Sharing | Security/Encryption

  • Loom – $0-5/per user

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar |Instant Messaging

    In response to COVID-19 through July 1: free for educators, recording limit removed on the free plan, free trial extended to 30 days, Loom Pro price adjusted to $5/month

  • Ring Central – $24.99-49.99 per user

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar | Audio/Phone | Instant Messaging

    In response to COVID-19: Three months free RingCentral Office for K12 educators, health providers and non-profits

  • GoToMeeting – $12-16/per user

    Services Provided: Video Conferencing | Web Conferencing/Webinar | Audio/Phone | Instant Messaging

    In response to COVID-19: some organizations may be eligible for access to free emergency remote work toolkit. Can register here.

CRM

  • Live Agent – $0-39/per user

    Services Provided: Project Management

Scheduling

  • Acuity – $0-50

    Services Provided: Project Management

Information Services

  • Dropbox Business – $12.50-20/per user

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Security/Encryption

    In response to COVID-19: Free Dropbox Business subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19

  • Genius Scan – $0

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing Phone app for scanning/sending documents

  • Tiny Scanner – $0

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing Phone app for scanning/sending documents

Project Management

  • Trello – $0-20.83/per user

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management | Security/Encryption

  • Asana Project Management – $0-24.99/per user

    Services Provided: Information Storage/Sharing | Project Management