Today's update will focus on the status of the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides low-interest and forgivable loans to small businesses that are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak.  For an overview of what the program is and how it will work, click here.  Here are some additional links to useful information about the program:

  • I've linked to this document before, but this guide from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce includes some very useful, easy to understand information about how employers can take advantage of the program.

  • Information from the Treasury Department for small businesses that are interested in utilizing the program can be found here. 

  • The actual application form for borrowers can be found here. 

  • More information for lenders that wish to participate in the program is available here.  Lenders can find an application form here.  I’ve been informed by the banking sector that as of this morning at 10:30 a.m. Secretary Mnuchin and SBA are reporting that 1,895 banks are in the system processing 7,774 loans totaling $22 billion.  The SBA is processing $1 billion per hour along with approving 100 to 150 banks per hour for participation in the program.

  • You can find an SBA-eligible lender here. 

  • A frequently asked question document is available here.  While it currently only has one item answered as of this writing, it will be regularly updated as the program's rollout continues and should be a helpful resource.

  • Bank of America reported on Saturday that it became the first major financial services institution to begin executing the program.  By the end of business on Friday it had passed along more than 99,000 applications for more than $25 billion in relief for its small business customers.

  • Some important information specifically for churches with questions about their eligibility to participate in the program is available here from the House Ways and Means Committee.  All churches are eligible for the forgivable loans available under the Paycheck Protection Program.

  • Here's some additional information for businesses with tips from the SBA to avoid falling prey to scams involving the Program. 

  • It's important to remember that this program was set up and running in just seven days— a record for any federal program.  President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin are working around the clock to ensure that applications are being processed in record time and that dollars begin to immediately flow to our small businesses in need. 

A few other updates, as well:  

  • As a follow-up to yesterday's item about revised guidance from the CDC regarding the use of cloth face coverings, here's a frequently asked questions document put together by CDC with additional information.

  • I also share the plea made by Dr. Deborah Birx in yesterday's press briefing by the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House.  Her quote:  
    • "So the next two weeks are extraordinarily important, and that's why I think you've heard from Dr. Fauci, from myself, from the 
      President and the Vice President, that this is the moment to do everything that you can on the presidential guidelines.  This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store and not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe.  That means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands."

  • For today's good news story, I want to highlight that Brooks Brothers, which operates a facility in Garland known for making top-of-the-line shirts, has announced that it will produce masks and gowns to help provide protective gear for health care workers at hospitals and other facilities.  It has set a goal of producing, at its facilities nationwide, some 150,000 masks per day.  It's just one example of how employers right here in North Carolina are working around the clock to help our first responders and health care professionals. 

As always, stay tuned to and NC's Department of Health and Human Services website for the latest on the outbreak.