Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Update  

Last night the President addressed the nation and announced some new actions regarding the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.  This included the announcement of new travel restrictions on travel from the European Union.  Below please find the latest COVID-19 update from the White House Office of Public Liaison. 

There are a few issues we wanted to make sure to clarify for Retailers members –

  • Cargo from the EU is NOT impacted by the travel restrictions.  The President issued a tweet after his address to state that the restriction “stops people not goods.”  The proclamation itself makes it clear that commerce will continue to flow.
  • The travel restriction only applies to foreign nationals from the EU countries.  It does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.  A copy of a statement from DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf can be viewed here.

In addition to the President’s travel restriction announcement, the Department of State did issue a Global Level 3 Health Advisory – Reconsider Travel which advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19.

In his address, the President also outlined a number of additional initiatives he will be seeking the following actions to help those who have been affected:

  • A call for a $50 billion increase to the Small Business Administration’s program to provide to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus;
  • Instruct the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted; and
  • Call on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief.

The House of Representatives is set to vote on a legislative package today introduced by the Democratic Leadership, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  You can view a one pager and summary and additional information here.

As the debate begins on a potential coronavirus economic stimulus package, NRF has shared a proposal with the administration and Congressional leaders for what actions would help the retail industry.  These include:

  • Qualified Improvement Property (QIP)
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Payroll Tax Relief
  • Net Operating Loss (NOL) Carryback
  • Suspend China Tariffs
  • Preserving flexibility and incentivize voluntary expansion of paid sick leave
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Risk Insurance
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