Biden issues emergency vaccine requirements
President Biden announced Thursday evening that the Labor Department will now require all workplaces with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or have negative weekly COVID-19 tests in order to remain employed.
“We will protect vaccinated workers from their unvaccinated colleagues,” Biden said at a press conference Thursday, adding that the Labor Department would also require companies to allow employees time off to get vaccinated.
State of emergency – which will affect 80 million Americans nationwide – is part of the new COVID-19 action plan which aims to crack down on the large proportion of Americans who are not vaccinated and continues to expand economic aid to struggling businesses.
“What more to look forward to, what more evidence is there to see?” Biden continued. “We have made vaccines safe, free and convenient. We have been patient, but our patience is running out.
In addition, vaccines will also be required for all federal employees and contractors and for healthcare workers in hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid.
The COVID-19 action plan also includes an extension of the Economic Disaster Lending (EIDL) program, which now reflects the rules and requirements of the depleted Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Here’s what businesses can expect from the newly revamped loan program:
- Loan limits increased from $ 500,000 to $ 2 million per business
- The funds can now be used to prepay business and credit card debts, as well as salaries, rent, utilities and other business expenses
- The SBA will tighten its reins on businesses that can receive economic aid, ensuring that small businesses are prioritized
- SBA will offer a 30-day window during which only small businesses applying for loans of $ 500.00 or less can apply
“At a time when there is still an dire need for small business restaurants to access working capital, these changes will improve the prospects for thousands of operators and improve the economic outlook for communities large and small,” Sean Kennedy , executive vice president of public policy for the National Restaurant Association said in a statement. “We have worked with the SBA to improve the terms and use of these federal loans so that they can have more impact. The changes we have achieved will provide an additional reconstruction tool at a time when operators again face uncertainty. “
In addition to the enhancements to the EIDL program, Biden also announced that the SBA now provides pre-filled Paycheck Protection Program remission requests that businesses with loans of $ 150,000 or less can automatically sign to obtain the. forgiveness of their loans – a new streamlined approach that began on August 6. .
The federal government is also launching a Community Navigator program that will help businesses in underserved communities connect to federal and state government resources to help them navigate economic challenges.
“As a result of the immunization program, we have experienced record economic growth of job creation unmatched in 40 years,” Biden said. “We cannot let the unvaccinated reverse this progress. “
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