A Helping Hand
SEMA Website Aids Members During Coronavirus Challenge
As the pandemic unfolded, SEMA quickly created a webpage at www.sema.org/coronavirus to help its members navigate the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. This resource is a one-stop shop for information on how to secure loans, keep workers on payroll, understand the rules for maintaining safe workplaces and more. The Coronavirus Updates and Resources webpage will continue to be an important way to stay up-to-date with the latest news as new information becomes available. Members are encouraged to bookmark the page to follow these topics:
Advocacy: SEMA joined forces with industry to proactively address the specific needs of auto and auto parts businesses within the nation’s response to COVID-19. The extensive efforts have ranged from providing loans, grants and access to working capital to creating a national approach for defining “essential” workplaces. The advocacy stretched from seeking tariff relief to stressing the importance of the outdoor recreation industry and the value of public access to the outdoors within CDC guidelines.
Defining Essential Business: SEMA compiled a database on how each state defines which businesses are essential. It specifically identifies issues covering the auto industry. SEMA also works with other industry organizations to identify essential work activities within the automotive aftermarket and incorporate them into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines. These same organizations then urged the states to create a national approach by adopting the guidelines.
Small-Business Loans: Lawmakers enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides valuable assistance to small businesses. The law created the Paycheck Protection Loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration and backed by the U.S. Treasury. It provides loans of up to $10 million at 1% interest a year—with eight weeks of the loan being forgiven if used to keep workers on the payroll and to cover rent and utilities. The CARES Act also provides a backup option, an emergency coronavirus disaster loan of up to $2 million at 3.75% to be used for payroll, fixed debts, accounts payable and other bills, including a $10,000 grant.
Paid Sick and Family Leave: Lawmakers expanded federal laws covering paid sick and family leave policies in order to address the health and stay-at-home challenges presented by COVID-19. Businesses will receive refundable tax credits to cover the costs of providing paid leave to their employees. SEMA provided links to U.S. Department of Labor guidelines, explanations of key provisions, and a webinar on the topic.
OSHA Guidance: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration developed employer guidance and recommendations for creating a safe workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDC Guidance: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued comprehensive guidance on understanding the virus and taking actions to help prevent and mitigate exposure. The information included guidance and resources for businesses and employers.
IRS Actions: The Internal Revenue Service provided a variety of relief measures, ranging from deferring tax-filing deadlines to providing employer tax credits. As authorized under the CARES Act, the IRS also issued Economic Impact Payments to individuals and couples and increased unemployment benefits.
New Federal Laws: SEMA provided summaries of new federal laws to address COVID-19, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act.
SEMA staff will continue to collect information and provide updates to the page as developments unfold. Meanwhile, do not hesitate to contact the SEMA team if you have specific questions or if there is anything we can do to help.