Modifications to SBA Bridge Loan Program

Today the Small Business Administration (SBA) published a notice expanding eligibility for its Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program (Express Bridge Pilot) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As originally announced in October 2017, the Express Bridge Pilot authorizes certain SBA lenders to provide expedited SBA-guaranteed bridge loan financing on an emergency basis in amounts up to $25,000 for disaster-related purposes to small businesses located in communities affected by Presidentially-declared disasters while those small businesses apply for and await long-term financing (including through the SBA’s direct Disaster Loan Program).

Per this notice, the SBA has expanded eligibility for the Express Bridge Pilot to include small businesses nationwide adversely impacted under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration issued by President Trump on March 13, 2020. Because the President’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration covers all states, territories, and the District of Columbia, eligible small businesses under the Express Bridge Pilot will now include small businesses located in any state, territory, and the District of Columbia that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The SBA notes that previously, those small businesses would not be eligible for Express Bridge Pilot loans because the program was limited to eligible small businesses located in “Primary Counties” that have been Presidentially-declared as major disaster areas, plus any “Contiguous Counties.’

In addition, the SBA is revising program requirements to allow Express Bridge Pilot loans made under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration to be approved through March 13, 2021. This is a revision to the previous policy that only allowed Express Bridge Pilot loans to be made up to six months after the date of the applicable Presidential disaster declaration. Finally, the SBA is extending the term of the Express Bridge Pilot from September 30, 2020 to March 13, 2021 to assist small businesses that may experience delayed effects resulting from the COVID-19 emergency to benefit from the Express Bridge Pilot and to allow SBA to continue its evaluation of the program.

Statement on state and local restrictions on movement – COVID-19

From FMCSA.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is aware that States, localities and territories have implemented or may consider implementing quarantine or travel restrictions that impact movement within their jurisdiction and on persons entering from certain locations within the United States and U.S. territories with sustained community transmission of the COVID-19 disease, as caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.

States, localities, and territories may wish to consider the following when implementing any quarantine, movement, and/or screening requirements that impact freight and passenger transportation by commercial motor vehicles. These suggestions draw on lessons learned from State, local, and territorial actions to date, as well as Federal guidance recommending unrestricted movement and access for critical infrastructure workers.

The Department of Homeland Security, through the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency guidelines,[1] has identified the following as essential workers…

See the complete statement from FMCSA online.

Truckers come to the rescue during coronavirus outbreak

From the Middletown Press.

Trucks. We used to hate them but now we love them.

We used to hate them when we thought they were clogging our overburdened highways, causing accidents and slowing our drive. We even seemed happy when tolling would affect trucks but not passenger cars.

Now we finally appreciate how truckers are crucial to resupplying our stores, keeping us well fed in this time of crisis.

As one national trucking official once said, “I wish all trucks were equipped with glass walls so people could see all the things we deliver.”

Another trucking advocate told me, “Now we have a chance for Americans to see how important trucking is, how good and decent the drivers are, and how they really love this country.”

See the complete article from the Middletown Press online.

TSA offers guidance on HMEs and TWICs

From National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC).

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is finalizing a draft exemption notice and accompanying memo that permits State licensing entities to grant a 120-day extension on a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) security threat assessment for drivers whose HMEs expired on March 1, 2020, or later within 120 days of the notice’s publication in the Federal Register. This proposed extension will allow drivers whose HMEs recently expired or will soon be expiring to continue to transport hazardous materials in light of access constraints to enrollment centers or State licensing entities because of COVID-19.

TSA also offered clarification on the use of expired TWIC cards. Current Federal regulations permit unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities or vessels with an expired TWIC under special circumstances.  If an individual cannot present a TWIC because it expired, and the individual previously has been granted unescorted access to secure areas with a TWIC, the individual may be granted unescorted access to secure areas by a facility or vessel for a period of no longer than 30 consecutive calendar days, see 33 CFR § 101.550 (a).  TSA is coordinating with USCG on a regular basis to determine if additional guidance may be needed to support transportation workers.  Updated information regarding USCG operations and procedures, including TWIC, may be found under “Featured Content” on the USCG Deputy Commandant for Operations website  and by monitoring Coast Guard Maritime Commons.

See the original release from NTTC online.

CDC self-quarantine guidance for greater NYC transportation & delivery workers

On March 26, the CDC clarified their guidance concerning transportation and delivery workers who had traveled through, or work in the area.

When we issued the self-quarantining guidance for greater New York City residents leaving this area, it was out of an abundance of caution to help protect U.S. areas with lower levels of COVID-19 spread. In line with our recommendations for other essential critical infrastructure workers, this guidance does not apply to critical transportation and delivery workers who are desperately needed for New York residents to continue their daily lives and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Truck drivers and other people driving into the city to deliver needed supplies should stay in their vehicles as much as possible as supplies are loaded and unloaded, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible. If these drivers need to spend the night in the greater New York City area, they should stay in their hotel rooms or sleeper cab, when available, to the extent possible and continue to practice social distancing. Drivers who take these precautions should not need to self-quarantine when they leave the greater New York area, unless self-quarantine is recommended by state or local officials for all residents in the areas where they live.

Truck drivers and other workers who obtain or deliver needed supplies who live in the greater New York area may continue to work both within and outside of the greater New York area but should stay at home and practice social distancing according to instructions of state and local officials when they are not working. While they are working either within or outside of the greater New York area, they should stay in their vehicles as much as possible, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible.

See the complete statement from CDC online.

Wilson Elser to host Coronavirus webinars

From MTAC partner Wilson Elser.

Wilson Elser is committed to keeping our clients informed of the insurance and broader business implications of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to the information and insights available to you via the firm’s Coronavirus Resource Center, we are offering a series of webinars on related topics for which we have been receiving an especially large number of inquiries.


Topic – Employers – FAQs

Date: Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m. ET

Join Lisa Ackerman, Bruno Katz, Celena Mayo and Yoora Pak as they provide answers to questions posed by employers who are navigating the current business environment made uncertain by the constantly changing state and federal regulations and laws.

Register online for the Employers – FAQs webinar.


Topic – Employment Law Update

Date: Monday, April 13 at 1 p.m. ET

Employment & Labor practice co-chairs Steve Joffe and Dean Rocco provide an update in state and federal employment laws.

Register online for the Employment Law Update webinar.


Visit the Wilson Elser coronavirus resource website for access to additional webinars.

FMCSA grants limited exemptions for expired CDLs, medical cards

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 24 issued a formal notice that it will not take enforcement action for certain expired commercial driver licenses, learner permits and medical certifications through June 30.

“Many States are experiencing greater than normal employee absences or have closed offices of their state driver licensing agencies in response to the guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control to use social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the policy statement said. “Because of these actions, many commercial motor vehicle drivers are unable to renew their driver’s license and are unable to provide medical certificates to their state driver licensing agencies.”

In addition, many medical providers nationwide have canceled regularly scheduled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response or for related reasons, and drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners to comply with FMCSA regulations, the agency said.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Note: The Connecticut DMV has issued a 90-day extension for credentials (including CDLs, registrations, IRP registrations) expiring between March 10 and June 8, 2020. DMV has also indicated to MTAC that they will seek to adopt the guidance from FMCSA regarding medical certifications, meaning that a driver will not face enforcement action for an expired medical card as long as it expired on or after March 1, 2020.

See this DMV website for more information.

FMCSA COVID-19 drug and alcohol testing guidance

From FMCSA.

To help ensure the safety and well-being of everyone, while also ensuring that we continue to meet our mission, we are providing the following guidance in effect until May 30, 2020 (90 days from the date proclaimed as the beginning of the national emergency in the President’s Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak), unless the national emergency is extended beyond that date.

Please click on this link to access information, provided by DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance (ODAPC), about the impact of the COVID-19 national emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations provide reasonable flexibility to motor carrier employers and their drivers subject to testing under 49 CFR part 382 to address the COVID-19 national emergency. FMCSA is aware that, as described in ODAPC’s guidance, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency are interfering with, and in some cases, may be preventing, employer and driver compliance with current drug and alcohol testing requirements. In addition to the guidance provided by ODAPC, see below for further information specifically related to FMCSA’s testing requirements.

The complete post from FMCSA, including their recommended actions for FMCSA-regulated employers unable to conduct tests, is available online.

Note to MTAC’s Fleet Screen participants

If you are a participant of MTAC’s drug and alcohol testing program which is administered by Fleet Screen, and are having problems completing tests, you need to contact Fleet Screen immediately. Fleet Screen will work with participants to ensure full compliance for members who are in the MTAC program.

FAQs related to FMCSA Emergency Declaration Part 2: March 25

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a second set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding their emergency declaration, which primarily dealt with an Hours of Service (HOS) waiver for the transportation of supplies in response to the public health emergency.

Members may also be interested in a higher-level page from FMCSA regarding response to the public health emergency.

How truckers are keeping shelves stocked and packages delivered amid outbreak

From NBC’s Today Show.

The nation’s 3 million truck drivers are unsung heroes of the coronavirus, working overtime to keep the critical supply chain moving. NBC’s Sam Brock reports for TODAY from Houston.

Click here to see the archived video report.