Federal Stimulus, Charleston and Mecklenburg Stay-At-Home Orders (Email: 3/25/20)

Today’s latest COVID-19 business information compiled by your SC Chamber Team is included below. 

Senate Poised to Pass Historic Federal Stimulus Bill

Later today, the US Senate is expected to pass H.R. 748, Phase 3 of the federal response to COVID-19. Phase 3 is an estimated $2 trillion stimulus plan that includes economic relief for individuals, both small and larger businesses, the healthcare industry and state governments, among many other industries and entities.  This economic recovery plan is one of the largest in American history and, as such, includes a long list of provisions. The latest summary of the key provisions affecting individuals and businesses can be found here. Please note that this summary is updated as of today at 3:00 pm. A final summary will be provided after the passage of the bill by both the Senate and House.

  • $350 billion for forgivable small business loans.
  • Expansion of unemployment benefit coverage and amount
  • $500 billion for corporate aid
  • $1,200 checks for most single filers and $2,400 for most joint filers
  • $340 billion for healthcare-related programs
  • $150 billion for state and local governments

The US House is expected to pass the bill, but will have to determine whether a vote can occur without members having to travel back to Washington, D.C.  The SC Chamber Team will continue to provide the latest information on the Federal Stimulus Bill and the potential impact it will have for you and your business.

Local Stay-at-Home Orders

Yesterday, the City of Charleston and Mecklenburg County, a border county in North Carolina, issued Stay-at-Home orders following the path of several states (17 to date) and other local jurisdictions around the country. The Charleston order takes effect tomorrow, March 26th, at 12:01 am and is effective for 14 days. The Mecklenburg order takes effect tomorrow at 8:00 am and is effective until April 16th. The North Carolina Governor’s Office is making plans for a statewide order, to avoid the likelihood of multiple orders in other large cities in N.C. As of today, South Carolina is not considering such an order. 

Here are the key provisions of both local orders affecting businesses:

  • Individuals must stay in their homes except to work at or conduct business at an essential business.
  • Non-essential business and operations must cease.
  • Essential businesses must practice social distancing; employees stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • It is unlawful for an individual to refuse to follow the order willfully, and law enforcement officers must enforce the order.
  • Both ordinances use the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency guidance as a basis to define “essential business.” 
  • The City of Charleston ordinance includes a list of 11 broad categories of essential businesses. 
  • The Mecklenburg County ordinance includes specific lists of businesses and entities separated into categories (1) Essential Businesses and Operations, (2) Healthcare and Public Health Operations, (3) Human Services Operations, (4) Essential Government Functions, and (5) Essential Infrastructure.
  • The ordinances do not provide a process for a business to request an exemption from the Stay-At-Home order and show they are essential or require clarification.

*Read the City of Charleston ordinance here and the Mecklenburg County ordinance here.

*Both ordinances state that the Essential Businesses List (and other parts of the ordinance) will be reviewed regularly and may be revised. If you are a business operating in these jurisdictions, please review the ordinances carefully to determine if your business is deemed essential. If your business is not on this list, then you can contact the local offices for more information.