Additional Relief for Small Businesses (fewer than 20 employees)
Beginning Wednesday, February 23rd, a 14 day period has been instituted, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the Program. 98 percent of small businesses have fewer than 20 employees. They are Main Street businesses that anchor our neighborhoods and help families build wealth. And while the Biden-Harris administration has directed significantly more relief to these smallest businesses in this round of PPP than in the prior round, these businesses often struggle more than larger businesses to collect the necessary paperwork and secure relief from a lender. The 14-day exclusive application period will allow lenders to focus on serving these smallest businesses. The Biden-Harris administration will also make a sustained effort to work with lenders and small business owners to ensure small businesses take maximum advantage of this two-week window.
You can access the links below to obtain more information about the changes:
Governor Abbott Announces Reduction in Covid Restrictions (3/2/2021)
- First and foremost the bottom line is this: mandates to wear masks, as well as capacity limitations on businesses will be terminated next Wednesday, March 10.
- “It is now time to open Texas 100%. Everybody who wants to work should have the opportunity. Every business that wants to be open should be open.”
- “Texas is in far better position now than when I issued my last Executive Order in October 2020 and of course far better than my first Executive Order in March of last year.”
- The Governor cited greater access to PPE, testing, antibody therapeutic drugs, vaccine availability, and Texans have a better education/awareness of how to avoid COVID-19.
- Also highlighted positive vaccine progress, including:
- 5.7M vaccine shots have been given to Texans
- 216K shots given today alone
- 1M shots given per week
- 7M total shots given to Texans by this time next week
- “The ‘Save Our Seniors’ program is working. Half of all Texas seniors will be vaccinated by next week, and all those that desire a shot will be vaccinated by end of March.”
- “Within a few months, every Texan who wants a vaccine shot will be able to get one.”
- “We are seeing the lowest hospitalizations in four months; far more Texans recovering from COVID-19 than contracting it.”
- “Beginning next Wednesday, all businesses of any type can open at 100% capacity, and I am canceling the statewide mask mandate.”
- “Texans should use common sense and follow medical advice; COVID-19 is not gone. Texans have wrestled with the virus for a year now, and they know best how to live their lives.”
- “If businesses choose to institute specific protocols to enhance safety, they are best equipped to make that decision.”
- For all counties without high hospitalizations “there are no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment,” and “individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household, but no person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering.”
- “High hospitalizations” is defined as any Trauma Service Area with seven straight days of COVID-hospitalized patients in excess of 15% of that TSA’s hospital capacity.
- In any county located within a TSA with high hospitalizations as defined above, there remain no state-imposed COVID-19-related operating limits for any businesses/establishments nor any face-covering requirements, but, a county judge may institute COVID mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of the virus, so long as:
- mitigation strategies may do include enforcement of criminal or civil penalties,
- and do not limit business capacity to less than 50%
- “Safety protocols, individual responsibility and good practices are not gone today. Statewide mandates, however, are.”
- Importantly, Gov. Abbott did not restrict private businesses from enforcing their own safety protocols as they see fit, including imposing face mask requirements.
- Often discussed state entities such as public schools, jails/prisons, and assisted living facilities are directed to follow guidance from their state agency of oversight (e.g. TEA for schools).