Retailers and small business owners are feeling a huge impact from the pandemic. With financial burdens and uncertainty, Jewelers of America is working to gather government-mandated guidance to help you through this tough time into recovery. 

 

Government Action & Support


(Updates as of 6/4/2020)

Federal Relief Legislation

The U.S. Government has passed three major Packages for Coronavirus Relief:
  • March 6: A $8.3 billion “Phase One” bill focused on coronavirus vaccine research and slowing the spread of the virus;
  • March 18: The $3.4 billion Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which focused on extending paid sick and family leave for workers hit by the virus;
  • March 27: The $2.3 trillion CARES Act which included broad stimulus and relief to businesses and individuals.
On April 24 the government also passed a supplementary stimulus package worth $484 billion, which primarily replenished the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),introduced as part of the CARES Act.

A fourth bill, the $3 trillion HEROES Act, passed the House on May 15, but has since stalled in the Senate.

Read more about COVID-19 focused legislation here.

Government Guidance and Recommendations on COVID-19

In addition to legislative action, the federal government has provided guidance on various aspects of the coronavirus pandemic – from recommendations to stay-at-home, to re-opening business and health and safety.

Jewelers of America has compiled some of the key government sites for information on COVID-19.

CDC Website’s COVID-19 Portal: Probably the most comprehensive resource for information on COVID-19 with both general health and safety guidelines and more specific guidance for businesses, communities, schools and more. The CDC also has a helpful General Business FAQ.

Coronavirus.gov: The official White House Coronavirus Task Force site provides information and connects to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the White House and other resources with information on COVID-19.

White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: Based on information from public health experts, offers info for state and local governments on a phased approach to re-opening the economy.

Small Business Administration COVID-19 Portal: Includes information on various programs to help small businesses get through the coronavirus crisis.

U.S. Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources: Provides and links to information for workers and employers on issues including workplace safety guidelines.

USA.gov
: A comprehensive listing of government agencies and their responses to the pandemic.

State-by-State Updates

Businesses need to stay up to date not only with what’s happening on the federal level, but more locally as many states have instituted policies that are not currently being practiced nationwide – from closing schools to closing non-essential businesses temporarily. With so much changing day to day (and in some cases hour to hour) it is critical to stay informed about the latest directives from State Health Departments.

Resources include State Updates from the National Retail Federation, searching for info on your state’s health department here and the National Governor’s Association guidance, Coronavirus: What You Need to Know.

(Updates as of 4/27/2020)

White House Delays Import Duties

In a move meant to provide relief during the COVID-19 crisis, President Trump issued on Executive Order on Sunday, April 19, 2020 that will allow qualifying importers to defer payments of certain duties, taxes and fees.

Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF) issued a statement in response, noting the announcement “is welcome news to retailers struggling to find any good news during this extremely difficult time.” NRF is pushing the administration to broaden the deferrals and provide additional relief.

The decision will allow importers who can document a significant financial hardship to defer payment for 90 days but is limited to products imported between March 1 and April 30. The president cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the executive order. Following the order, the Department of Treasury and U.S. Customs and Border Protection immediately issued a Temporary Final Rule with details on how to qualify for the deferment. Read more here.

Jewelers of America supports any relief that can help jewelers have liquidity and better cash flow during this difficult time. We are still pushing for further reduction of the trade war with China, which was not directly impacted by the order.

You can respond by submitting a letter to Trump Administration and Congress here.
Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram Linkedin