COVID-19 Latest Updates on Essential Businesses Orders.

We will continue to update as we collect more information.

LAST UPDATED: 07/08/2020


New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Carolina

The Governor issued the EO in a more narrow way compared to other states. The only businesses she is closing down are listed below. The rest of businesses are allowed to continue operations as long as they comply with certain telework and social distancing requirements listed on page 5.

Closed businesses: Amusement parks; aquariums; arcades; art galleries (to the extent that they are open without appointment); barber shops and hair salons; bowling alleys; cosmetic stores; dance studios; esthetician practices; fraternal organization facilities; furniture stores; gyms and fitness studios (including climbing gyms); hookah bars; indoor and outdoor malls (i.e., all portions of a retail complex containing stores and restaurants in a single area); indoor party places (including jumping gyms and laser tag); jewelry shops and boutiques (unless they provide goods exclusively through pick-up or delivery services); medical spas; facial spas; day spas; and non-medical massage therapy services; museums; nail and tanning salons; non-tribal card rooms; skating rinks; senior activity centers; ski resorts; social and private clubs; tattoo/piercing parlors; tennis clubs; theaters; yoga studios; and youth clubs.

Rhode Island


July 8, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and COVID-19 Relief:

  • Prior to leaving town for the July 4th holiday, the House and Senate passed a bill that allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue issuing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans until August 8th. The bill was signed into law by President Trump last week. Prior to the enactment of the bill, the PPP was set to stop issuing loans on June 30th. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that $130 billion allocated for the PPP remained unspent, Congress decided to allow the SBA to continue issuing loans. To apply for a PPP loan click here.

COVID-19 Relief:

  • The Senate will be in recess until July 20th, which means a new COVID-19 relief bill will not be enacted until late July or early August. This means the Senate will only have three weeks to pass a bill prior to the August recess. The House of Representatives is still in session and will be working on appropriations bills.
  • If your business is still looking for COVID-19 relief click here for a list of state and local loans available to businesses. In addition, ARA’s website contains a spreadsheet containing COVID-19 Relief Resources for Small and Medium Businesses.


  • On July 1, the Consumer Access to Repair (CAR) Coalition formally launched. The coalition, whose members include LKQ Corp., Allstate, Certified Automotive Parts Association, and the Automotive Body Parts Association, has called on Congress to explore expanded consumer choice over personal vehicle data. The CAR Coalition urged members of Congress to oppose automakers’ call to impose a five-year federal preemption on any state taking action on the sharing of telematics data. By opposing automakers’ request, Congress would be supporting consumer choice and would allow consumers to have greater access to less expensive replacement vehicle parts.
  • According to data released by INRIX, vehicle traffic in the United States has rebounded to at least 90% of pre-pandemic levels. It is also possible that vehicle traffic will continue to increase to levels higher than before the pandemic due to people staying away from public transportation.
  • U.S. light vehicle sales declined by 33.8% in Q2 2020 from Q2 2019. However, used car sales have jumped to 17% above pre-pandemic forecasts in June. Observers have attributed the spike in used car sales on a shortage of new vehicle inventory, favorable interest rates, and the overall cost savings associated with buying a used vehicle.
June 16, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and COVID-19 Relief:

  • Yesterday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) posted revised PPP loan forgiveness applications, which implement the revisions from the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020. In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, the SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application. The EZ version of the forgiveness application can be used by borrowers that:
    • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
    • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
    • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
  • There are still funds available in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). If you have not already applied for a PPP loan, APPLY IMMEDIATELY! There seems to be ambiguity within SBA guidance that seems to indicate that a borrower needs to both apply and receive a PPP loan by June 30, 2020, not just apply by June 30, 2020. It is not worth waiting to apply at the last moment. To find an eligible lender click here. Remember, if you are applying for a PPP loan, you will be more likely to receive funds if you apply with a regional or local bank.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan program. Businesses who have not already applied can apply for an EIDL grant and receive $1,000 per-employee (up to $10,000). Click here for the application page on the SBA website.


  • Last week, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) panning the agency for “neglecting to oversee and keep the public informed” of vulnerabilities in internet-connected cars. Last August, Senators Blumenthal and Markey asked NHTSA for information about its work on vehicle cybersecurity. NHTSA responded by stating that they were “not aware of any malicious hacking attempts that have created safety concerns for the motoring public.” NHTSA made this statement despite there being ample evidence that hackers have the capability to take control of connected vehicles.


  • On Monday, LKQ Corp. announced its second-quarter results through May have been better than expected.

Trump Administration:

  • White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro said President Trump wants the next COVID-19 stimulus package to contain at least $2 trillion. This figure is smaller than the $3 trillion wanted by Democrats in the HEROES Act and the $1 trillion ceiling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had set.
May 15, 2020
Congress COVID-19 Relief Bill:
COVID-19 Relief Programs:
State Reopening:
ARA in the News:
  • This week, ARA issued a press release opposing modifications to workers’ compensation laws by states such as California. California recently issued an executive order that creates a presumption that an employee working for an essential business who contracts COVID-19 contracted the virus at their place of work. Industry news site CollisionWeek published an article yesterday about ARA’s position on this issue.
April 28, 2020
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury continue to release information and guidance on the COVID-19-related business loan programs because of their size, unique forgiveness properties and speed with which they were drafted. The first guidance below addresses details and methodologies to be used for calculating maximum loan amounts if the borrower is a partnership, a C or a S corporation. The second link provided is yet another updated question and answer document that covers diverse questions such, as if an application needs to be changed because it was based on an earlier PPP rule and there has been updated guidance (Answer: No) and are federal taxes part of the PPP loans payroll costs (Answer: employer paid federal payroll taxes are excluded). The issues are obviously technical and the FAQs provide examples to assist in answering concerns.

  • On the issue of essential business employer liability for alleged inflection in the workplace, the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission will withdraw a previous emergency rule that would have “…created a presumption that the workplace was the cause of a COVID-19 infection”. The action was in response to a lawsuit brought by two dozen business organizations and under a temporary restraining order a Judge ruled that the Commission “exceeded its rule making authority”. Close to 20 other states have passed similar presumptive measures but they are limited solely to the health care workforce and first responders. The issue is being closely monitored.
April 24, 2020
  • Once again the House and Senate passed a COVID-19 economic relief package and the one and a half page Resolution replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).  The total package of $484 billion brings the total of all four packages to S2,7 trillion.  Yesterday’s package, called the “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” designates $310 billion to the PPP and $50 billion for the EIDL.  The President has signaled his support and his signature is expected shortly, maybe even today.  If an ARA member has not yet been able to receive a loan, reach out today to your lender.   The Resolution itself as well as the SBA list of participating lenders and the Treasury Department’s updated (as of today) list of frequently asked questions can be at the following links:  116th Congress/House Bill, SBA, PPP.
  • States are starting to outline plans to relax work restrictions for non-essential businesses.  Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee were among the states that are beginning to address varying degrees of reopening plans.  At the same time, Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina extended their stay in place orders.  Since it is a decision that a state, and sometimes a locality, has the jurisdiction to mandate, the country has become a patchwork of orders.  ARA will try to add the reopening plans to its list of stay at home orders which can be found at
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released guidance to its Area Offices on how to address “…handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports.”  OSHA instructs the field personnel to “…allow flexibility and discretion…to maximize OSHA’s impact in securing safe workplaces for workers in this evolving environment.”  However, this by no means mitigates their responsibility to identify, investigate and report on potentially hazardous occupational exposures.  Specifically, OSHA prepared their Area Offices with “good faith” guidances for workplace protective measures and told agents to evaluate 1) Workplace risk levels; 2) Complaints; and 3) Inspection planning roles.  Enforcement  and “Appropriate action to take [will be] based on the employer’s response” to complaints.
April 22, 2020

A new COVID-19 economic relief package has been cobbled together in the U.S. Senate and is headed to the U.S. House of Representatives. The $484 billion measure contains $380 billion to replenish small business loans implemented in the last relief bill – $321 billion of which is earmarked for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which ran out of funds last week and nearly $60 billion in loans and grants for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.  In addition, it includes $75 billion in aid to hospitals and $25 billion for testing.  

The U.S. House is expected to pass the bill on Thursday after which it will immediately be sent to the President for his signature.  The Senate and House have been passing these relief measures by consent (without having to call the Members to the Chambers) but the House is calling as many Members back to Washington as possible for the Thursday vote.  Congress was otherwise not expected to actually reconvene on Capitol Hill until May 4 at the earliest.  Passage of any other relief measures by consent is deemed highly unlikely.

ARA will closely monitor and communicate passage and guidance on this measure for ARA members that were not yet able to get relief.

April 20, 2020
  • The U.S. Congress and the Administration are still grappling with approval of an additional COVID-19 economic relief package and may be closing in on a compromise. At this point in time the measure includes $300 billion in additional funds for small business loans program, $50 billion for a disaster loans program for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. The total package may top $400 billion.
  • In terms of federal guidance for the reopening of the government and testing, Republicans and Democrats are also disagreeing about who should handle the issue. Many Republicans and the Administration say that states and the private sector should handle testing while Democrats think that the federal government should “nationalize” the distribution of tests.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice allowing temporary procedures for the fax filing of Forms 1139 and 1045 – claims for quick refunds of a credit for prior year minimum tax liability of corporations and net operating loss deductions. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous means of filing these reports was by hard copy but the CARES Act allows for the faxing of these documents. The fax numbers and more details are provided in this link.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) further revised its list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and added auto dealers to the list. Other segments of the auto supply chain such as the repair sector had previously been included in this federal guidance. States and localities make their own determinations but many states have used the CISA guidelines. The actual new language is as follows:

    “Workers critical to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, rental, leasing, repair, and maintenance of vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations to facilitate continuity of travel-related operations for essential workers.”

  • The Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced relief to employers who are unable to fulfill certain annual testing, inspection, training or auditing due to the pandemic. The stipulation is that “the employer [make] good faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards and, in situations where compliance was not possible, to ensure that employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained.” Some examples of the areas of testing and training include respirator fit testing and training and construction crane operator certification. For the entire OSHA memorandum, click here.
April 8, 2020
  • This week the White House will be requesting from the U.S. Congress an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The applications from small businesses since Friday has been overwhelming. Congress may act as early as this week to shore up the program but Democrats have some additional funding demands that they want added to the program.

    Yesterday the Treasury Department released new and unique Frequently Asked Questions that it has received since the program’s inception. They deal with everything from more details on what size businesses qualify to annual salary compensation exclusion clarification. The new FAQs can be found in the following link:
  • The association for health insurance providers, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), has compiled a list of major new coverage practices by its member companies related to the testing and treatment of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the AHIP, providers are eliminating copays and some other patient cost sharing. For company specific information click this link:
  • General Motors has finalized plans to produce 30,000 ventilators by the end of August after added pressure from President Trump who invoked the Defense Production Act. In the short term, over 6,000 ventilators are expected to be delivered by June as a result of GM’s partnership with a ventilator manufacturer. The total contract price is estimated at nearly $500 million.
April 6, 2020
  • Various federal agencies are updating their workplace recommendations for personal protective equipment PPE usage and alternatives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued both recommendations and guidance respectively regarding the use of cloth face coverings and “appropriate respiratory protection” in the workplace. Because approximately 25 – 50 percent of people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms, the CDC recommends cloth face coverings for everyone that can be “fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost ….as an additional, voluntary public health measure”. OSHA went further in addressing scenarios for the essential workforce. They stated in guidance that employers should “Make a good-faith effort to provide and ensure workers use the most appropriate respiratory protection available for the hazards against which workers need to be protected.”

    The recommendations and guidance can be found in these two links:
  • Vehicle disinfecting is an important topic and below is an example of one automaker’s recommended processes.
  • Even though the U.S. federal government’s CARE Act small business loan program is having major problems in being implemented, Democrats in Congress are considering a fourth economic relief bill to fund infrastructure investments and provide more immediate financial relief to states, small businesses, health care workers, farmers and direct payments to citizens. The measure is being called “CARES 2”. More details are expected later this month amidst some early push back from Republicans.
  • Use the following NAIC code when preparing your PPE documentation: NAICS Code 423140 – Motor Vehicle Parts (Used) Merchant Wholesalers.
April 1, 2020
  • An insurance company released guidance for sanitizing vehicles on a Facebook page. Nationwide told its direct repair program facilities that it would reimburse without documentation for “1.0 labor hour and $25 for materials” to sanitize vehicles. Their posting is:
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cleaning workplaces are found here:
  • Paid sick, medical and family leave guidelines along with a poster that is required to be posted (see bottom) were issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. The new rules are effective today, with a 30-day good faith non-enforcement provision. An outline of major provisions and poster information is as follows:
    • The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) issued guidance to employers and employees about their respective duties and rights under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which regulates paid sick leave as well as medical and family leave benefits. The main provisions are as follows:
      • A “covered employer” includes a private employer with fewer than 500 employees. A small business with fewer than 50 employees can potentially qualify for an exemption from a leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability “if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern”.
      • Covered employers must provide to all employees 2 weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay if the employee is quarantined or presenting COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting a medical determination.
      • Covered employers must provide 2 weeks of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee cannot work because they are taking care of a sick person or for the care of a child whose day care or school is closed or similar situations as determined by the Secretary’s of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor.
      • Employee that have been employed for at least 30 days are eligible.
      • Covered employers must provide paid expanded medical and family leave at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay for up to an additional 10 weeks if the employee is unable to work due to taking care of a child whose school or day care is closed.
      • DoL stipulates details on several “qualifying reasons for leave” and the duration of leave depending on the reason. (Link to DoL Guidance is at the bottom of this paper.)
      • There is a tax credit for covered employers to qualify for “dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA”. It will also include “the cost of the employer’s health insurance premiums during leave”. This will be available on the Department of the Treasury’s website.
      • Covered employers must conspicuously post a poster alerting employee to provisions of this measure. (Link to this poster is below.) If an employee is working remotely it can be sent to them by email or regular mail. Posters in other languages are being developed.
      • While the new rule is effective on April 1, 2020, there will be a 30-day non-enforcement period “so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act”.


For employers:

For details – Questions and Answers:


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Information Sheet:

For Posters: To obtain notices free of charge, contact the Department’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Alternatively, you may download and print the notice yourself from

To apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) apply today at this link below

March 30, 2020
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) revised its guidance on “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” and automotive recyclers continue to fall within the guidelines. The earlier version included “Automotive repair and maintenance facilities” and “employees who repair and maintain vehicles…”. The new guidelines state:
    • “Automotive repair, maintenance, and transportation equipment manufacturing and distribution facilities (including those who repair and maintain electric vehicle charging stations)”
    • “Employees who repair and maintain vehicles…”
    • “Workers critical to rental and leasing of vehicles and equipment that facilitate continuity of operations for essential workforces and other essential travel”
    • Once again please remember that this document is for guidance only, but many states and localities have used it as the basis for their own determinations. ARA will be on a call today with a representative of CISA and will update information as more is learned.
  • Two more states have asked businesses to send inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies much like the New Jersey order that was reported on Friday. Colorado’s Governor wrote:
    • “I request that any Colorado business or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilator, respirator and anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services undertake an inventory of such supplies by no later than March 26th, 2020 and prepare to send it to the State of Colorado.”
    • Likewise, Minnesota’s Governor wrote:
      “Any Minnesota business, nonprofit, or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental, construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines (including any consumable accessories to these devices) that are not required for the provision of critical health care services or essential services and were not produced by the organization for the purpose of sale, must undertake an inventory of such supplies no later than March 25, 2020,”
  • The U.S. Department of Labor issued more guidance for both employers and employees on the expanded family and medical leave provisions that were recently enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) goes into effect on April 1, 2020 but has a “temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days”. While ARA is examining the details of the new rules and will be on a business teleconference this week to learn more, click here for an understandable DOL fact sheet explaining the main Employer Paid Leave Requirements:
    • President Trump invoked that Defense Production Act (DPA) requiring General Motors to “accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators”.
    • The preeminent Detroit Auto Show has been cancelled and the downtown convention space will be repurposed as a field hospital.
    • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) may not go into effect as planned on June 1, 2020 because of the pandemic. Within this trade deal are provisions related to qualifications for reduced tariffs on vehicles.
March 24, 2020
  • Many ARA members have asked if there are “transit” letters for employees going to and from their “essential” businesses in the case of a state or locality stay-at-home or other business shutdown mandate. ARA was on a call yesterday with a representative of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) discussing the “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce”. While automotive recyclers fit within their definitions of essential workforce under the terms “automotive repair and maintenance facilities” and “employees who repair and maintain vehicles”, the document is only a guidance. States and in some instances, localities determine which businesses are essential and can remain open. But please remember that things are changing on an hourly basis and we are tracking as fast as we can all changes.
  • On the questions of a transit letter, during yesterday’s call with CISA, a question was asked about documentation for workers going to and from essential businesses. The CISA staff said that they were “working through that as we speak”. He suggested that they might provide a template for a letter but there are so many issues that they are working out and promised “more to come” on that issue. There is confusion over this especially because a “federal” letter wouldn’t replace a state letter. Many business groups are exploring how to make this work and have asked states to provide more clarity. Please find a draft template for your employees to carry with them to and from work if you are in a state or locality that has a work stoppage order or “stay at home” order in place. They should also carry business cards if they have them or another form of identification. The letter should be put on your letterhead and you can enter your specific business and employee information in the yellow highlighted parts. Employees have been stopped going to and from their jobs across the country. Click for sample letter.
  • There is still no deal in the U.S. Senate on a third coronavirus relief bill amongst much partisan rancor. Senate Democrats have held up passage with demands for less “slush funding” and have also tied issues to their demands that are not directly related to the current pandemic. A successful vote is still expected today, being brokered by the Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Stay tuned.
  • For small businesses that might need credit during this turbulent health and financial crisis, the Small Business Administration (SBA) “is looking at every option and taking every action to cut red tape to make it easier for small business to stay in business”. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) can give a business up to $2 million. According to EIDL “These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact……. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses.” SBA also allows small businesses to spread out the loan over as long as 30 years dependent on a case-by-case basis. To apply:
  • In addition, the Federal Reserve announced that they are establishing programs using the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) possibly allowing small and large businesses “to tap new credit”.

(click image to download)


This may not be a complete list and a personal assessment of the any state orders should also be conducted by each member before continuing operations.