How Businesses Can Help Protect Themselves Against Civil Unrest

How Businesses Can Help Protect Themselves Against Civil UnrestIf the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t a big enough strain on businesses trying to engage in commerce, whether it’s retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, or those in the service sector, civil unrest puts another strain on surviving the downturn. Based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Small Business Administration, businesses can prepare for civil unrest.

While the British firm Verisk Maplecroft predicts that 75 countries will see civil unrest in 2020, the United States has already seen its fair share recently. While the future intensity of civil unrest can’t be predicted, businesses can take steps to plan and mitigate such events.

For businesses, the first priority is to ensure employees and customers are not put in harm’s way. If a dangerous situation happens quickly and without warning, there are some steps business owners can take to mitigate the threat.

  • Plan ahead for travel disruptions by keeping an eye on local media reports and online/social media. This information can be helpful for informing employees and customers not to go to work or order online if a retail outlet or office location is subject to civil unrest.
  • Ensure that all workers are familiar with emergency and security plans. This might include having current contact information to reach employees before they go to work or giving them time to leave before the situation escalates.

Another recommendation is to take steps against arson, break-ins, and damage sustained to the property. Examples include maintaining employee vigilance against the out-of-the-ordinary activity. Review security and fire protection systems, how alarm companies will notify business owners, and what steps the monitoring companies will take to mitigate against burglary and/or fire. Reinforce locks and board up areas vulnerable to damage or provide easy points of access during civil riots (e.g., protect glass doors and windows).

If first responders take longer than normal to arrive, it’s important to take measures to reduce the chance of serious and unintended damages from the civil unrest. Be it water, gas, electrical or related systems, turning off all but necessary utilities (e.g., water for sprinklers; enough heat to prevent freezing pipes; power for an alarm system) could reduce the risk of additional damage.

Along with having a commercial insurance policy that includes looting as a covered peril, one other important part of a business continuity plan is how important documents are stored. Will they be stored on-premises in a safe? Will they be stored online, in the cloud and encrypted? Will they be stored offsite in a secure location?

Much like other disasters that often happen with little to no warning, businesses that prepare before civil unrest occurs can help reduce the amount of property damaged and help get their operations back to pre-crisis levels.


Payroll Protection Program Loan Forgiveness is Here

PPP Loan Forgiveness Instructions

The first Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans were made over eight weeks ago, which means they may be forgivable if the guidelines set forth by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the United States Treasury Department are met.

In order to have a loan forgiven, borrowers need to complete the 11-page application made available by the Treasury Department. Applicants can complete the forms either in hard copy or via an online platform if provided by their lender. Large borrowers, or those who took out more than $2 million from the PPP program, are required to file even more paperwork.

Along with the application, borrowers need to submit a Forgiveness Amount Calculation. This calculation discloses the total eligible payroll costs paid during the program. Applicants will also need documentation, such as tax filing statements, utilities, PPP loan contracts, EIDL contracts, and any supporting documents that were used when applying for the PPP loan. 

Certification of the loan forgiveness amount requested is necessary to prove it was truly used to pay eligible costs, such as payroll, business mortgage interest, rent or lease payments, and utilities. Further, borrowers must report any declines in the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and/or wage reductions more than 25 percent. Failing to retain pre-program FTE headcount or wage reductions over this threshold will reduce the eligible amount of loan forgiveness.

The amount of paperwork necessary to substantiate the application can be daunting, especially for many “main street” businesses. In order to help you complete the application, the SBA has issued formal guidance that can be found here. And a more user-friendly guide giving detailed instructions on how to fill out your PPP forgiveness application form can be found here, provided by Bench. We can assist you with the application process itself and the required documentation. Give us a call to see how we can help instead of struggling through the process on your own.