Friday Update
April 3rd, 2020
Baker-Polito administration extends non-essential business closures to construction industry
As of this week, Gov. Baker’s emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” has been extended to include non-essential construction. Work on housing, transportation, telecommunications, or health care projects will continue.

Under these new qualifications, workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC technicians, landscapers, inspectors, and other service providers who provide services necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings such as hospitals, health care facilities, senior living facilities, and any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response have been deemed by the Baker-Polito administration as essential.

The Telegram & Gazette has compiled a list of many construction projects which were either underway or planned prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Worcester and where they stand as of April.

This order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4.
April 3rd COVID-19 Update: H.4598 Signed Into Law
Legislation to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities Signed Into Law; Includes Provisions for Corporate, Non-Profit Boards
The Legislature has now passed, and the Governor has signed into law, H.4598, An Act to address challenges faced by municipalities and state authorities resulting from COVID-19. The final bill includes items of relevance to municipal governments, corporations, non-profits, and restaurants (specifically the ability of restaurants to sell alcohol with take-out orders).
Below is a summary of the legislation, as passed. A key addition to the legislation during the course of the week was a provision preventing a city or town from terminating essential services of a resident (water, trash collection, electricity) for non-payment of taxes or fees, if the payment is made by June 30th and the resident can demonstrate financial hardship. Further details are included in the summary below.
The legislation contained an emergency preamble, meaning it takes effect immediately.

The full text of the final legislation, as passed, can be found online at this link. Note that the text of Amendment H.4617 reflects the final language as passed, as the original text of H.4598 was amended multiple times.
State and Federal Tax Filing Deadlines and CARES Act Summaries
Federal Returns Due Dates and Covid-19 Relief
Tax returns, payments and first quarter estimated tax payments due April 15, 2020 will not have to be filed and paid until July 15, 2020. No interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file a federal income tax return or to pay federal income tax will accrue between April 15,2020 and July 15, 2020, for any return or payment postponed by the notice. Click here to see Federal Due Dates List
In addition to the extended due date of tax returns and payments, the relief also extends the time to contribute to your IRA account, HSA or Archer MSA, SEP IRA accounts and Profit-Sharing accounts.
Looking for more information? Click on the link to access the IRS Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers page.
Massachusetts has extended the due date for filing Individual Income Tax Returns and payment July 15, 2020. It has come to our attention that Massachusetts has not yet extended the due date for estimated tax payments due on April 15, 2020. We are monitoring this situation and waiting for the Massachusetts legislature to provide regulations which will hopefully extend the estimated tax deadline in addition to the filing and payment deadline.
Please note: Fiduciary and corporate tax returns and payments are still currently due April 15, 2020. Click here to see State Due Dates List

Recovery Rebates
The bill provides for payments to taxpayers, “recovery rebates”, which are being treated as advance refunds of a 2020 tax credit.
Under this provision, individuals will receive a tax credit of $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) plus $500 for each qualifying child. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) above $150,000 (for joint filers), $112,500 (for heads of household), and $75,000 for other individuals.
The credit is not available to nonresident aliens, individuals who can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, and estates and trusts. Taxpayers will reduce the amount of the credit available on their 2020 tax return by the amount of the advance refund payment they receive.

Unemployment Benefits
For some individuals, unemployment options may now be available to you. CARES Act funding has expanded unemployment insurance by $250 billion, and eligibility now includes individuals out of work due to coronavirus (or caring for someone with coronavirus), as well as self-employed and independent contract workers. Weekly payments for unemployment recipients will increase by $600 per week for a period of 4 months.

Retirement Plans
Through the end of the year, individuals who are under 59 ½ years old can take up to $100,000 in coronavirus-related distributions from retirement plans without being subject to the 10% additional tax for early distributions. Eligible distributions can be taken up to Dec. 31, 2020. Coronavirus-related distributions may be repaid within three years. Any resulting income inclusion can be taken over three years. For these purposes, an eligible taxpayer is one who has been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease or whose spouse or dependent has been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease or who experiences adverse financial consequences from being quarantined, furloughed, or laid off, or who has had his or her work hours reduced, or who is unable to work due to lack of child care. The bill also allows loans of up to $100,000 from qualified plans, and repayment can be delayed.
If you were over 70 ½ at December 31, 2019, the bill temporarily suspends the required minimum distribution rules for 2020.

Student Loans
If you have a federally-held student loan, your payments will be suspended through September 30, 2020 and interest won’t accrue during this period. Note, this relief does not apply to private student loans.

Employee Retention Credit
Businesses now closed or with suspended operations due to COVID-19 that are still paying their workers will be eligible for a credit for employment taxes, the Employee Retention Credit. The credit is for 50% of qualified wages, limited to $10,000 per employee, and is allowed for the calendar quarter beginning after December 31, 2019. This credit applies if gross receipts during that quarter were less than 50% in comparison to the same quarter in 2019. The credit continues for subsequent quarters, allowing that your comparison with the same quarter in the prior year shows a reduction in gross receipts of more than 80%. But keep in mind that businesses already receiving aid through the Paycheck Protection Program are not eligible for this credit, and the credit will be reduced by any amount received under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act as well.

Payroll Tax Delay
The bill delays payment of 50% of 2020 employer payroll taxes until Dec. 31, 2021; the other 50% will be due Dec. 31, 2022. For self-employed individuals, the deferral applies to 50% of the Self-Employment Contributions Act tax liability (including any related estimated tax liability). For self-employment taxes, 50% will not be due until those same dates. The relief isn't available if the taxpayer has had debt forgiveness under the CARES Act for certain loans under the Small Business Act as modified by the CARES Act.

Net Operating Losses
The bill temporarily repeals the 80% income limitation for net operating loss deductions for years beginning before 2021. For losses arising in 2018, 2019, and 2020, a five-year carry back is allowed (taxpayers can elect to forgo the carry back).

Qualified Improvement Property
The bill also makes technical corrections regarding qualified improvement property under Sec. 168 by making it 15-year property.
Marketing Massachusetts Farms, Crops, and Products
We have created a new webpage that focuses information to the public: COVID-19: How & Where to Buy Local. It features up-to-date regional links throughout Massachusetts that assists the public to many local delivery and pick-up options.
Our primary tool, the MassGrown Map, continues to serve the public with locations of Massachusetts retail farms, farmers markets, and more! Over the past 10 years, the map has been upgraded with new features, categories, and icons (most recently, honey producers).
Since we launched our mobile-friendly version of the map last year, we have seen more than 50% of users now use the map via their phone. When you open the MassGrown map on a mobile device, and you “allow” it to use your location, it defaults to locations nearest you.

A few marketing tips to remember in communications to your customers:
1. Make sure your websites are up to date. Use your website to provide the public assurance that you are aware of the impacts of Covid-19, and outline the precautions you are taking for your customers and employees. Don’t rely on Facebook alone for these updates, as your website is the front door of information to your farm business.
2. Send us news stories, web-links, posts, and other ways you might be modifying, or selling to the public. We are posting news links on the MDAR’s COVID-19 Resources for Agriculture, under “In the Spotlight: Farms, Food Banks, and Ag Businesses Supporting the COVID-19 Response”. We continue to use our social media platforms ( ) to spread these unique agriculture related stories, to show the public where to purchase local food, and assure them that the industry is following best practices for their safety and health.
3. Keep our Ag Calendar Photo Contest in mind with your customers. While many people are at home, this is a perfect time to gather their favorite ag-related photos. When you send out an email or outreach via social media, be sure to add the Mass. Ag in the Classroom link and encourage your customers to send their best photos. The more photos submitted by your customers, the better odds of getting your farm included in the 2021 Ag Calendar!
SBA Resources through CARES Act
The CARES Act makes substantial funding available to support small businesses impacted by the coronavirus through the Small Business Administration, both through new programs and adjustments to existing programs. I’m hopeful that you will share these resources widely with businesses in your circles.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Loans are up to $10M, with a 0.5% interest rate and a 2-year maturity; there are no payments for the first six months.
  • Who can apply? Businesses, non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees.
  • When can I apply? The Paycheck Protection Program will be available beginning on Friday, April 3rd. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020.
  • How do I apply? You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit institution. Ask your local lender if it is participating in the program.
  • What else should I know? The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The program will be available retroactive from February 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.
  • Read more here:

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance is a Loan Advance of $10,000 that is available to applicants who have been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; it does not need to be repaid, so you can think of the Advance as a grant for business expenses.
  • Who can apply? If you have applied or intend to apply to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, you can also apply for a Loan Advance.
  • When can I apply? The Loan Advance is available now.
  • How do I apply? Visit the SBA’s website to submit an application for the Economic Disaster Injury Loan and Loan Advance.
  • What else should I know? Please note that you should submit an application at the above link, even if you’ve previously submitted an EIDL application prior to the Loan Advance being available.
  • Read more here:
The SBA is also offering Debt Relief to small businesses. Under this relief, the SBA will pay the principal and interest for six months beginning March 27th, 2020 for qualifying new and current holders of 7(a) loans.
  • Who can apply? Businesses who already have a covered 7(a) SBA loan or receive a 7(a) SBA loan prior to September 27, 2020.
  • When can I apply? This relief is applied for covered loans beginning with payments due after March 27, 2020.
  • How do I apply? Reach out to your SBA lender to discuss how this debt relief applies to your SBA loan.
  • What else should I know? This debt relief is available only to 7(a) loans and not to loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program, 504 loans, or microloans.
  • Read more here:
Don’t forget that you can still apply for two other Small Business Administration loan programs:
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available through the SBA website; apply here. EIDL loans can be up to $2M, with interest rates of 3.75%, and are for businesses whose revenues were adversely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Express Bridge Loan Program is available to businesses that have an existing business relationship with an SBA-approved lender; speak to your lender about accessing this option while you await a decision on long-term financing.
Please visit for up to date information on loan packages from emergency guaranteed loans up to 10 million dollars and emergency bridge loans $25,000.00 or less. Some include payment deferments are up to 12 months.
Help with immediate relief!


InThink Webinar Series
Running Your Business in Quarantine: A Survival Guide
Friday, April 3rd 2-3pm
Join CEO, Kham Inthirath, and Drift Senior Partner Sales Manager, Bennett Boucher, as they discuss how your business can strategically position itself in the wake of COVID-19.
Webinar Agenda
· What is conversational marketing?
· Drift Chatbot Uses
· Tips + Tricks
· Rapid Response Business Plan + Why You Need One
· Q&A
If you can’t wait until the webinar, book your complimentary 30-min advising session and see if a Rapid Response Business Plan is right for you. Schedule here or email us at
Grow with Google
Digital Skills For Everyday Tasks
Monday, April 6 9:00 am
Learn how to manage work and life tasks more effectively using Google tools. Whether you want to build a budget, create a meeting agenda or organize your priorities, these best practices will boost your productivity.
SCORE Boston Small Business Webinars

Given by the SBA, this webinar is designed to give the most up-to-date information and a potential opportunity to ask questions to an SBA representative
Join These Weekly Webinars and Virtual Discussions
As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and our New Reality of constant disruption and isolation, we are offering a series of weekly webinars throughout the month of April to help you work through these challenging times that have impacted not only our lives but our livelihood. Leaders, in whatever capacity whether at home or work, need support now more than ever. Therefore, these weekly hour-long webinars are intended to build a Community of Support bringing people together to share anxieties, brainstorm solutions and find a path forward as We are All in this Together!
April 8 2020 11:00am
As humans we are naturally social creatures. We exist best when we are within communities. Social distancing is not part of our DNA, however it has fast become a necessity within today's current situation. Without knowing how long the need for isolation will persist, how can we energize and inspire not only ourselves but others during these unprecedented times. Join us for this conversation on ways to inspire and stay inspired while isolated.
April 22 2020 11:00am
"In every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity." This famous quote from Napoleon Hill looks to the brighter side of a dark situation. During these times, focusing our thoughts in positive ways can help as we are constantly getting bombarded with negative news and information. Come to this session for some positivity and to brainstorm ideas for identifying opportunities for you and your business/career within these challenging times.
April 15 2020 11:00am
As we grapple with a New Reality, a myriad of concerns begin to consume us as we try to survive this crisis. During these unprecedented times, followers will be looking to their leaders for reassurance. And while "Hope is Not a Strategy", it does play an important role as we lead our teams through these challenging times. Join this session to understand the needs of those we influence, whether employees, customers, family, etc.

As we grapple with a New Reality, a myriad of concerns begin to consume us as we try to survive this crisis. During these unprecedented times, followers will be looking to their leaders for reassurance. And while "Hope is Not a Strategy", it does play an important role as we lead our teams through these challenging times. Join this session to understand the needs of those we influence, whether employees, customers, family, etc.
April 29 2020 11:00am
Complete and utter disruption has been thrusted upon our lives. As we deal with a New Reality that is constantly evolving with every minute of every hour of each day, maintaining focus can be challenging not knowing what is changing within the world of business or how long it will last. For many, survival is at the forefront of our minds. The stability and predictability of Business as Usual has vanished. And just as Hope is not a Strategy, nor is Panic. This session will focus on brainstorming beyond survival to

For more details and to sign up, please click on the link(s) above. Please note that you need to register for each 60-minute webinar separately.
About to load filament in the 3D printer. We are printing face shields day and night, at the BV Ed Hub and have 35 schools working with us. We have delivered over 500 already, but we are running low on product. Please visit our Go Fund Me page, COVID-19 Medical Face Shield Project and donate what you can. We need your help to keep going and the hospitals and nursing facilities need the shields. Thank you and stay healthy!
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Survey
We at the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Discover Central Mass are concerned about our businesses and organizations as we are all navigating uncharted waters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is the link to the survey:

Our goal with this questionnaire is to better understand your business needs so that we can properly advocate on your behalf to federal, state, and local officials. We are communicating regularly with these leaders as we seek to craft solutions that will assist businesses, save jobs, and help those who have been adversely impacted by this crisis – from both a health and economic perspective.

Please take a few minutes to let us know how best we can support you.

Thank you,
  • Worcester Chamber & Discover Central Mass
Central Massachuetts Regional Planning Commission Business Impact Survey
If you are a business owner, community leader, or municipal economic development committee in Southern Worcester County and are looking for help navigating the many State, Federal or Local resources that have been rolled out in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, please contact Kerrie Salwa, for direction to these resources. If you are a current business
owner: Please access the survey using the link below so we have a better idea of the needs of our region. Thank you.
New Members of the BVCC
Please take moment and check out our most recent new members. Support them if you are able by purchasing gift cards, ordering take-out, or scheduling an appointment for a later date. We thank you all! Welcome New BVCC Members!
?Grafton Country Store · Carol Dauphinais · 2 Grafton Common, P.O. Box 554, Grafton, MA 01519 · 508-839-4898 · · · Retail Gift Shop

Evergreen Center · Kelsey McGoldrick · 345 Fortune Blvd., Milford, MA 01757 · 508-478-2631 · · · Non-profit/Human Resource/Health Care

Metrowest Embroidery · Mike Smith · 375 Hill Street, Whitinsville, MA 01588 · 617-388-3364 · · · Embroidery

Julie French Interiors · Julie F. Woodward · Millbury, MA 01527 · 508-523-1209 · · · Interior Design

Praesidium Security Inc. · Jess Bly · 38 crownshield Avenue, Uxbridge, MA 01569 · 508-221-2480 · · · Security

Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team · JoAnn Griffin · P.O. Box 1317, Douglas, MA 01516 · 508-476-2873 · · · Volunteer Animal Disaster Response

National Gallery Framing and Gifts · Denise Kirk · 15 Old Farm Road, Auburn, MA 01501 · 508-581-9550 · · Custom Framing
As a reminder, the BVCC Office is closed to in person meetings this week, but please do not hesitate to contact the staff of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. We are here to ensure your questions get answered, and your business needs are met.

Remote contact info:

Jeannie Hebert President & CEO cell #: (508) 981 5782
Liz O’Neil Programs and Events Coordinator
Julia Juskavitch Marketing Coordinator
Marcia Decker and Judy Curtis Administration