New York Farm Bureau will be sending daily alerts at this time to keep you up to date on the latest COVID-19 news that may affect you, your farm family and employees. We know things are constantly changing, but we will do our best to keep you informed, offer guidance and share ways you may be able to help. We will do this for as long as it is necessary. NYFB is a community, and we are all in this together.
The Latest from Gov. Cuomo’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19*
Gov. Cuomo has extended the Pause Act to April 29, which mandates non-essential workers to work from home and a six-foot social distancing space be observed in public places. Click here for more information.
- Gov. Cuomo is increasing maximum fine for violations of state social distancing protocol.
- $500 maximum fine increased to $1,000.
- State setting up COVID-19 First Responders Fund to help with costs associated with continuing to work through the pandemic. NYS DOH will run the fund. Blackstone made initial $10 million donation.
- Number of deaths effectively flat for past two days in NYS, but NJ's cases are still growing.
- Total hospitalizations, ICU admittance, intubations are all down.
- State looking at whether or not its in the apex, and if we'll deal with a peak or a plateau of case numbers.
- Data set over past few weeks charts a lower bed count than earlier models projected. NYS credits the social distancing actions with putting downward pressure on the number of needed beds.
- Governor states that the numbers are hopeful, but dependent upon future actions.
- USNS Comfort: Governor requesting that the ship be used for COVID use. Non-COVID cases declined. Governor wants it as relief valve for downstate hospital system.
- Gov. Cuomo is calling President Trump today to discuss the issue.
*Courtesy NY StateWatch
For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.
Paycheck Protection Loans Available to Farmers, Regardless of Revenue
Last week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released the regulation and application information for Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPPL) which provide forgivable loans for businesses with less than 500 employees that retain their employees. Farmers are eligible for these loans. An article by American Farm Bureau outlining the provisions of the PPPL can be found here.
Regulations Released Regarding Federal Emergency Paid Leave During the COVID-19 Outbreak
As the coronavirus continued to spread and cases continued to increase, Congress passed a second coronavirus legislative package, known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed by the President on March 18, 2020. Among other things, this act provides for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
On April 1, 2020, USDOL published the first regulations on the acts. The high points of those regulations are included in our revised fact sheet found here and cover definitions, explanations of leave coordination and intermittent leave, and provisions for employer documentation.
These new COVID-19 laws are intricate, and the information and guidance relating to these laws continues to evolve on a daily basis. NYFB will continue to strive to bring its members the most up-to-date information.
NYFB Sends Letter to USDA Requesting Assistance for Farmers
NYFB recently sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue outlining the needs of the New York agriculture industry as a result of COVID-19. New York’s agriculture industry has been greatly impacted with a loss of market and revenue stream for many producers, and it is important that USDA provides support to those products by using funds allocated by the CARES Act. A copy of the letter can be found here.
FDA Offers Food Safety Guidance
The following information is now available to food manufacturers on Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
EIDL Loans Available to Wineries
Agricultural enterprises are still excluded from Economic Injury Disaster Loans but due to the manufacturing aspect of a winery’s business, wineries are eligible for these loans. A vineyard-only operation is not eligible though. Click here for the EIDL loan application. The application asks the applicant if they are an agricultural enterprise. If you are applying as a winery, you should not check this box in order to continue with the application. It should be noted that the EIDL loans are not forgivable, however approved applicants can receive a $10,000 advance on the loan that will not need to be repaid.
EIDL loans are separate from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan as guaranteed in the CARES Act. Those are fully forgivable loans for small businesses if used primarily for payroll. SBA has stated that you can apply for both a EIDL loan and a PPP loan but cannot use them for the same purpose. For more information visit the Small Business Administration website by clicking here.
NY FarmNet is open
Please keep these numbers and websites available to call or share should you, a family member or friends need someone to speak with in these uncertain times.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (TALK), www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Crisis Text Line
Text “GOT 5” to 741-741, www.crisistextline.org
If you have concerns about how COVID-19 will affect your agricultural operation, please give New York Farm Bureau a call at 518-436-8495. We can only help those who ask. Who knows, maybe your question will cause us to get ahead of a problem instead of reacting to it after it has become a problem.