As states and cities begin to roll out reopening plans, small business owners have lots of questions about how to do so safely and smartly. In the latest installment of our National Small Business Town Hall from Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Kimberly Weisul, Editor-at-Large at Inc. interviewed Neil Bradley, Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on how small businesses can begin to think about reopening and the latest on the CARES Act and PPP loans.

They were joined by panelists including:

Key takeaways included:

Update on PPP loan forgiveness

  • For employers whose employees have chosen not to return to work, the Treasury Department has clarified its position on loan forgiveness. Specifically, if you’re an employer and want to bring an employee back who had previously been laid off, you will not be penalized if the employee chooses not to return. If you issue a written invitation to invite the employee back to work and the employee declines your written offer, you will not be penalized in PPP loan forgiveness application, according to Bradley.
  • There is still PPP loan money available and businesses should continue to apply, Bradley said.
  • It is not known yet whether the window for loan use and forgiveness will be expanded beyond June 30, 2020, or that more of the PPP loans can be used for non-payroll expenses. Bradley said that though some of these rules could change, he advised businesses assume the program guidelines will not change.

Learn more about PPP loans here.

Reopening for business

  • Stay up to date on your local and state governments’ reopening plans. To see where your state stands on reopening, see the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance.
  • Businesses need to develop and document their plans for reopening and dealing with sick employees, advises Levinson Werner. Ensure you’re listening to employees and have a dialogue with them about your plans and their concerns. For more on reopening your business, check out our reopening guide.
  • This is a test for small businesses, said Slaughter. Those who pass the test will end up with better culture and more loyal employees.

Watch the full event above for more advice on both PPP loans and reopening plans.