COVID-19

In Tennessee, the wood products industry has been recognized as an "essential industry" by our Governor.  TFA appreciates our members working hard throughout the challenges of COVID-19.  At TFA, we continue to learn more and more about the "new normal" and how we can adjust our daily workplace and family life to the plans for re-opening our economy and getting more and more Tennesseans back to work.

The COVID-19 situation and effect on Tennessee's wood industries and forest landowners changes daily.  Please stay in touch with Candace at TFA via email at cdinwiddie@tnforestry.com  Also, watch for updated News and Notes.  TFA staff will send News & Notes to our members promptly as needed.

August 20, 2020

The CAFB Fund website is now up and running.  You can find it at: 

https://tncaresact.tn.gov/tda. 

The TDA press release has been distributed.  The link to the release is:

https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/news/2020/8/15/financial-relief-for-agricultural-and-forestry-businesses-announced.html 

The Link below is a letter that can be used as a handout to sawmills, loggers and any other wood products industry folks that you might think applicable in your areas.  I encourage everyone to look at the links including the application and get familiarized with it in case someone needs some assistance. 

Please click here for the Letter for Sawmills and Loggers

 

8/14/2020-

On Wednesday, the 111th General Assembly gathered at the Capitol in Nashville for the 3rd Legislative day of the Second Extraordinary Session and passed the COVID-19 Recovery Act.   Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced last week that he was convening a special legislative session for the General Assembly to address several issues including COVID-19 liability protections. 

The House of Representatives established special committees during the extraordinary session to address the specific subjects. The House established the COVID Related Liability Committee to discuss the “Tennessee COVID-19 Recovery Act .The legislation makes additions to present law concerning limiting liability for any person relating to loss, damages, injury, or death from coronavirus. House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) carried the legislation in the House on behalf of the administration and the Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R- Franklin) carried the legislation in the Senate. Both the House and Senate passed the Tennessee COVID-19 Recovery Act. The Senate passed the bill with 27 voting in the affirmative to 4 nos and the House passed the same version with a final vote of 80 to 10. The legislation will now be sent to Governor Bill Lee for signature. For a copy of the legislation, please click here.

TFA and other business and agricultural organizations supported this legislation.

July 24, 2020

The American Loggers Council (ALC) has shared talking points on their proposed legislation fronted by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

July 24, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans deadline has been extended  to August 8, 2020. The most recent report from the Small Business Administration released on July 17 shows that more than $130 billion is still available. In addition to PPP loans, small businesses of less than 500 employees may be eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).  The most recent report on the PPP can be found below...

https://www.tnforestry.com/files/1131/File/PPP_Report_Public%20-%202020-07-19-508.pdf.

 

July 17, 2020-

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Implications of COVID-19 on Tennessee Exports of Forest Products Report


In this report “Implications of COVID-19 on Tennessee Exports of Forest Products” Adam Taylor and Andrew Muhammad, Ph.D. examine how the COVID-19 outbreak impacted Tennessee forest product exports in 2020. They provide a background and overview of Tennessee production and exports and briefly discuss how the U.S.-China trade war impacted Tennessee. To assess the impacts of COVID-19, Adam Taylor and Andrew Muhammad, Ph.D. examine the most recent trade data for 2020 and assess how Tennessee and U.S. exports in January-April 2020 compare to the same period in previous years.

The publication can be accessed online: https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W913.pdf

 

July 10, 2020-

Tennessee Bankers Association provided TFA with  helpful powerpoint presentation slides outlining the PPP program and small industries who borrow through this program should know.  Please access the TN Bankers presentation below:

PPP TN Presentation - PPP Discussion: Four Topics Each Borrower Should Know

July 10, 2020-

Paycheck Protection Program Restart

On July 4th, President Trump signed legislation to reopen the application window for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until Saturday, August 8th. The original deadline for application was Tuesday, June 30th. The five-week extension had been approved by unanimous consent the previous week by both chambers of Congress.

The extension keeps a source of funding open to struggling small businesses while Congress works on a second, more targeted funding program. The PPP currently has approximately $129 billion in funding remaining

For Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information and Updates, please check out the Small Business Administration website:
https://www.sba.gov/.

June 22, 2020-

SBA Accepting New Applications for EIDL Loans

On June 15th, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SBA announced that new applications will be accepted for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The EIDL loan advances up to $10,000 to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. The loan will not have to be repaid and is available to agricultural businesses including those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and growing  livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (which includes the forest products industry) with 500 or fewer employees. The grants are available until December 16, 2020.  TFA can provide our members more information on this program.

Please contact Candace at TFA for more information on both the PPP forgiveness EZ application and the EIDL loan program.

June 5, 2020-

PPP Program Update

Late Wednesday, the Senate moved House-passed legislation that would significantly modify the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill, HR7010, accomplishes two primary objectives. First, it would allow loan funds to be paid over a 24-week period or by December 31st, whichever is sooner. The current window is eight weeks, which was not workable for companies that have been closed or only partially open. Second, the legislation lowers the percentage of loan funds that need to be dedicated to payroll from the current 75 percent to 60 percent. Importantly, this is now a cliff threshold for forgiveness, meaning that if 60 percent spent on payroll is not reached, none of the loan will be forgiven. 

Other notable provisions in the bill include:

  • Language allowing any portion of the loan amount not forgiven to be repaid over five years, instead of the current two years, and the interest rate remains at one percent.
  • Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages by December 31st, a change from the previous June 30th deadline.
  • Businesses that receive a PPP loan can also delay payment of their payroll taxes, which was previously prohibited under the CARES Act.

The President has indicated he will sign this legislation.

June 5, 2020-
Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group Updates 

Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group continues to advance the state’s reopening plan, issuing updated guidelines today for close contact service businesses, exercise facilities and recreation activities under the Tennessee Pledge. In addition, the ERG added recommendations for large community events to the previously issued guidance for attractions and large venues. Events like fairs, festivals, expos and parades may be held in accordance with social distancing guidelines, and the ERG has provided additional recommendations to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.

Updated guidelines for close contact services, exercise facilities and recreation activities now focus on social distancing measures rather than strict capacity limits. In addition, the guidelines for close contact businesses also provide guidance for resuming certain services that require the removal of face-coverings.

ERG also expanded guidance for attractions and large venues to include recommendations for large community events such as fairs and festivals. To protect Tennesseans from the spread of COVID-19, venues should implement measures to encourage social distancing, reduce occupancy and crowd density, encourage the use of cloth face coverings and increase sanitization.

April 10, 2020-

HF Issue Alert:  Federal Business Assistance Measures Rolling Out
(provided by the Hardwood Federation)

Treasury has continued to refine and update administrative rules for the PPP. 
For the latest information, please check here

The Treasury Department has also released a new FAQ document to further help small businesses apply for PPP loans, which you can access here.

Due to the ongoing high demand and concerns that currently allocated funding will be insufficient, there is ongoing discussion among House and Senate leadership about how increase funds for the PPP.  Hoped for action did not happen this week, but there are active efforts looking to come to agreement.  Democrats are looking to double the $250 billion put on the table by Republicans, putting more money for states and local communities.  We will continue to monitor and report on progress.

The Federal Reserve also announced a several measures to support the economy on Wednesday, April 8, including important support for financial institutions administering PPP loans.  More information about the Fed’s actions may be accessed here.

April 10, 2020- 

From David Arnold, TN State Forester: 

Thanks to David for providing this information to TFA

The best path to getting help is to have each business go to www.tsbdc.org and select Request Advising for their particular location (even though meetings are not taking place in-person, calling/emailing is still available)

That way they get the client can get in the “queue” so they can get assistance as soon as possible.

Feel free to also reach out to Pat Geho, Executive Director at the Lead Center at MTSU,
615-849-9999.

Here is the most current link for the SBA Loans for Coronavirus Relief.

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

April 10, 2020-

Other Quick Links for Helpful SBA/PPP Information:

Thanks to Neil Owens at the TN Dept. of Agriculture for Providing these
important links below:

PPP Borrower Application: Please click here
SBA Webinar for Disaster Assistance Powerpoint: Please click here
SBA Development Centers TN Offices: Please click here

Note from Candace:  It seems to be advisable as well to contact the local bank that you do business with regularly and/or the local Farm Credit Services office.  These folks are more than glad to help.  If you run into problems, please contact the TFA offices

April 10, 2020-

Available from AF&PA:  Covid-19 Activities & Resource Guide

Please click here to see to the AF&PA Covid-19 Resources Guide.  This document is helpful to mills to plan for compliance to standards relative to laws, etc as well as protection for employees and others during this period. 

April 10, 2020-
 

AL Forestry Assn. Survey on Covid-19 Affect on Wood Products Industry in the SE

The Alabama Forestry Association has put together a survey to determine ways that our forestry companies in the southeast are being affected by the Covid-19 crisis so that state associations might be better informed on how to respond to our members' needs. TFA asks our members to respond to the survey…please check out the link below.  TFA will report back to our members outcome of the survey.

https://www.cognitoforms.com/ForestWorkforceTrainingInstitute/COVID19EffectOnForestIndustryEmployers

April 3, 2020-

TN EO #22 Referencing CISA as Essential Business in TN
(Attachment A, Paragraph 1)
PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR EO 22 DOCUMENT 

TN EO #23 "Required to Stay at Home" change from EO #22, other provisions of EO #22 remain in placePLEASE CLICK HERE FOR EO 23 DOCUMENT

To sell all orders visit TFA site at 
https://www.tnforestry.com/COVID-19/TN_Executive_Orders/ 
Or TN Secretary of State's office website at:
https://sos.tn.gov/Tproducts/division-publications/executive-orders.
Governor Bill Lee's Executive Orders that can affect our daily business and lifestyles during this challenging time are posted at this website.

April 3, 2020-
CISA Homeland Security Document 2.0 Including Wood  Products & Supply Chain as Essential
(wood products & supply chain reference in bullet points under Agriculture)

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR CISA HOMELAND SECURITY DOCUMENT

April 3, 2020-
Travel Letter Example for Essential Industry & Suppliers (Revise for Your Business)
(provided by the Hardwood Federation)

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR ESSENTIAL INDUSTRY AND SUPPLIERS TRAVEL LETTER

April 3, 2020-
Statement from Commissioner Charlie Hatcher Regarding Ag & Forestry Operations as Essential Business in Tennessee

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR COMMISSIONER HATCHER LETTER

April 3, 2020-

COVID-19 Small Business Paycheck Protection Program—Applications NOW being Accepted  (provided by the Forest Resources Association, FRA)

The Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications today, April 3, from small businesses and beginning on April 10 they will accept applications from independent contractors for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program is part of the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or CARES Act. Businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with less than 500 employees qualify for the PPP. If you or your business meets the criteria and plan to apply for a loan, FRA encourages you to contact your lender to begin the process immediately.

We encourage our members to share this information with smaller businesses in your supply chain, such as sawmills and logging businesses, that may be struggling due to the economic impacts caused by the COIVID-19 pandemic.

Important links for the PPP are below. More detailed information about the PPP can be found here.

  • For a top-line overview of the program click here
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here
  • The application for borrowers can be found here
April 3, 2020-
Important Websites and Videos for This Emergency Period

TN Dept. of Agriculture:
https://www.tn.gov/agriculture.html.

TN Secretary of State
(New Executive Orders Postings)
https://sos.tn.gov/products/division-publications/executive-orders

NHLA Website:
Information of Interest
https://www.nhla.com/industry-resources/covid19/

FRA Website:              
Information on National & State by State COVID-19 Issues  
https://forestresources.org/

Video on Essential Products Manufactured by the Wood Industry                                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atLbEj5S-4U&feature=youtu.be

March 27, 2020-
For information regarding Federal Tax Payments, Deadlines, and Stimulus Checks refer to: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus​

March 27, 2020-
For information regarding Workplace Safety (OSHA), Wages, Hours and Leave, and Unemployment Insurance please refer to:
https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

March 27, 2020-
For Fact Sheets and Q&A regarding Workers and the American Workplace (including paid leave requirements) under the Families First Bill please refer to:
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

March 27, 2020-
Pertinent Department of Labor News Releases:

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200324 https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200326

March 27, 2020-
For Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources please refer to:​
https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
March 27, 2020-
For Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance please refer to: 
https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

 

March 27, 2020-
For a comprehensive guide of State Resources & Restrictions please refer:
https://web.csg.org/covid19/state-covid-19-websites-and-relatedresources/
https://forestresources.org/impact-of-covid-19-on-the-forestproducts-industry

March 27, 2020-
For the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) Emergency Declaration please refer to:​

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/expanded-emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002-relating-covid-19

March 27, 2020-
For the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) latest information on Covid-19 please refer to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

March 27, 2020-
Revised Homeland Security Guidance Document with Clarification of Supply Chain and Forest Products should be Considered "Essential Infrastructure Business"   

https://www.tnforestry.com/COVID-19/US_Department_of_Homeland_Security_Documents/

March 27, 2020-
TFA staff hopes that our members will periodically check the
TN Secretary of State's office website at:

https://sos.tn.gov/Tproducts/division-publications/executive-orders. or 
on 
TFA site at https://www.tnforestry.com/COVID-19/TN_Executive_Orders/
Governor Bill Lee's Executive Orders that can affect our daily business and lifestyles during this challenging time are posted at this website.

March 23, 2020-
For the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
latest information on Covid-19 please refer to:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

March 23, 2020-
COVID-19 State Resources
For State by State Manufacturing Resource Information please refer to:

See up-to-date information on state and local declarations and their impact on manufacturing operations and facilities
https://www.nam.org/covid-19-state-resources

March 23, 2020-
TFA’s Letter to Gov. Lee Asking For Continued Support for Forest Products Industry to be Essential to Operating in TN 
(hand delivered to Governor Lee & Also Provided to Ag Commissioner Charlie Hatcher) 
Please see attached file by clicking here.