April 3rd: Today's Three Things to Know- Governor’s Update to Non-Essential Businesses List, COVID-19 Business Survey Reminder, Paycheck Protection Program Update


April 3, 2020

Email to COVID-19 Mailing List

Today’s COVID-19 business information compiled by your SC Chamber Team includes: Governor’s Update to Non-Essential Businesses ListCOVID-19 Business Survey Reminder, Paycheck Protection Program Update

Governor McMaster Closes Additional Categories of “Non-Essential” Businesses

In a press conference today, Governor McMaster announced two new executive orders.

  • The first order goes into effect Monday, April 6th at 5:00 pm and added additional business types to the “non-essential” business list, including retail stores as follows:
    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
    • Department stores, except for hardware and home-improvement stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft, and music stores
    • Flea markets
    • Florists and flower stores

This order does not prohibit the operation of retail stores in the categories above for fulfilling online or telephone orders or providing alternate means of purchasing or delivering products or services—including curbside purchase, pickup, or delivery and home or off-site delivery.

  • The second orderwhich became effective today at 5:00 pm, closed short-term rentals to people from COVID-19 “hotspots,” as identified in a CDC travel advisory or other CDC notice, to include the Tri-State Area (consisting of the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut). This order includes hotels, short term rentals, condos, resorts, bed and breakfast companies, and timeshares. The following categories are not subject to the provisions in this order:
    • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, and liquid petroleum), livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips);
    • Individuals employed by airlines;
    • Individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities;
    • Individuals are performing or assisting with the military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations, as well as any other operations or services identified by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in its March 28th, 2020 Memorandum, or any future amendments or supplements thereto, as essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.

As has been the case previously, if after reviewing the list, you are still uncertain about whether your business needs to close, then you can complete the “Essential Business Clarification” form via the Department of Commerce’s website, email covid19sc@sccommerce.com, or call 803-734-2873. The department will review the request, and the business will receive a determination within 24 hours. 

Finally, the Governor’s Office clarified: If a business is not explicitly addressed in the governor’s executive order, the business should continue normal operations until a determination is made.”

REMINDER: The SC Chamber Needs Your Input - COVID-19 Business Survey

  • For the Chamber to gauge the current effect of the Coronavirus and ensuing state policies and federal legislation on South Carolina businesses, we ask that you complete a short,12-question survey.
  • The survey is open until 5:00 pm this Sunday, April 5th. It takes less than five minutes to complete; responses can be anonymous and will not be associated with you or your company if you choose.
  • Please help the Chamber provide data and feedback to policymakers and allow us to advocate for business-friendly COVID-19 policies by participating.

Paycheck Protection Program Update

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) started today, April 3rd. Still, some banks are not yet prepared to take applications, due in part, because federal authorities issued program guidance (Interim Final Rule) late yesterday. Also, loan applications may take time to process because all applications must be handled directly through the Small Business Administration’s central portal. 
    • Read the SC Bankers Association press release issued today for more information about SC banks’ efforts to prepare to help distribute PPP funds to small businesses.
  • To Recap: The PPP was passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In essence, it authorizes up to $349 billion for job retention and certain other expenses at businesses employing less than 500 people. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards for low-interest loans up to a maximum of $10 million. Part of the loan may be forgiven and not counted as income, as long as the money is spent on certain operating expenses the first eight weeks after the loan originated.
    • The SC Chamber Team continues to work with the SBA’s South Carolina District Office and the SC Bankers Association and will provide up-to-date information as we receive it.
  • ICYMI: Call with US Senator Tim Scott Recap
    • Today, we had over 600 people tune in to our Zoom call with US Senator Tim Scott. Senator Scott was integral in the recent passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the most significant relief package in American history, designed to help businesses and the economy during this time of crisis. We thank Senator Scott and his team for taking the time to join our members today to answer questions related to that legislation.
    • Click here to read a full recap of the call. 
    • To view a recording of the call, click here.