Coronavirus Government Response Update—FDA Temporarily Eases Sanitizer Restrictions
Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on fast-moving government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other public policy issues important to the cleaning industry. Today’s update touches on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) temporarily easing hand sanitizer impurity restrictions, the Senate passing a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program fix, jobless claims, worse-than-expected total unemployment figures, and more.
FDA to Temporarily Ease Sanitizer Restrictions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will temporarily allow some impurities in alcohol-based hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus pandemic, a reversal from tighter restrictions on such impurities imposed in April. The new guidance from the FDA allows hand sanitizers to contain up to two parts per million (ppm) benzene and 50 ppm acetaldehyde.
Senate Passes PPP Loan Program Fix
The Senate unanimously passed a bill that seeks to fix the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides direct relief to small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asked for a unanimous consent vote and received no objection hours after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) objected to the bill’s passage because he wanted assurances of changes to be made in the program later. The bill now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature. He is expected to sign the measure.
Jobless Claims, Total Unemployment Worse than Expected
CNBC reported that filings for unemployment insurance claims totaled 1.87 million last week in a sign that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high. According to CNBC, economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 1.77 million new claims. The Labor Department’s total represented a decline from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 2.126 million. Filings under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program totaled 623,073. This was the first time the government’s weekly jobless claims report came under 2 million since the week ended March 14.
Many Small Businesses Received Coronavirus Loans Twice
Reuters reported that a glitch in a U.S. government system caused numerous small businesses to receive coronavirus aid loans twice or more. The money that was mistakenly distributed more than once could be upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars that the government and lenders are attempting to identify and recover. Sources said the glitch was caused by a blind spot in the Small Business Administration’s US$660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which failed to recognize when some borrowers submitted applications more than once, typically with several different lenders.
Other links of interest
- Take Action Now–Urge Your Elected Officials to Support Clean Start Tax Credit
- ISSA Webinar Recording – Legislative Update: COVID-19 and the Cleaning Industry (May 26, 2020; available to ISSA members only)
- ISSA Coronavirus Government Response FAQ
- U.S. Department of Labor: COVID-19 and the American Workplace
- SBA Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources