Federal guidelines and updates for COVID-19

Mar 26, 2020

Federal Waivers – Essential Businesses

Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public health and safety as well as community well-being. Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations. 

This guidance and accompanying list are intended to support State, Local, and industry partners in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

This document gives guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions and the private sector on defining essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of such workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, or closure orders/directives is crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions. CISA made a technical update to the document on March 23, 2020 to clarify the description of a small number of essential services and functions in the list. 

If you have feedback or additional questions, please reach out to: CISA.CAT@cisa.dhs.gov  

Download a PDF version of this Guidance

Learn more:

Coronavirus

Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidance

Cisa Releases Guidance Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19

Federal Waivers – US Department of Transportation – Trucking and Drivers Issues

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need for expedient transportation of supplies and services, the federal government has published several guidance documents and enforcement discretion notices. The guidance and discretion documents are summarized below with hyperlinks to the official publications. Requirements for commercial driver licenses (CDL) and hazardous materials endorsements (HME) are also regulated at the state level, and companies should review policy decisions at the state level, as well.

DOT: Guidance on Compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations

  • Directs employers to “make a reasonable effort” to comply with DOT training and testing requirements and, if unable to comply, employers must document why the requirements were not met.
  • Maintains that training and testing requirements must still be met in order for employees to exercise related functions, “If employers are unable to conduct DOT drug and alcohol testing due to the unavailability of testing resources, the underlying modal regulations continue to apply.”

FMCSA: Notice to State Drivers Licensing Agencies of the FMCSA’s Policy Regarding Effect of Actions during COVID-19 Emergency

Ordinarily, failure of states to comply with CDL regulations results in withholding of federal highway funds. The FMCSA notice waives this provision for state licensing agencies that choose to extend CDLs and/or extend medical certification requirements.

FMCSA: FMCSA CDL Waiver

Extends validity of intra- and interstate CDLs until June 30, 2020 as well as waives the requirement for a medical examination and certification with proof of valid medical certificate that expired on or after March 1, 2020.

FMCSA: Notice of Enforcement Policy Regarding Expiring Driver’s Licenses and Medical Examiner’s Certificates During COVID-19 National Emergency

Identifies federal CDL regulations that FMCSA will not take enforcement discretion on until June 30, 2020.

FMCSA: Frequently Asked Questions Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration

Answers common questions for drivers and motor carriers, including document verification and electronic logging device records.

TSA: General Information regarding TSA Enrollment Services

Questions and answers on TSA procedures for obtaining and renewing hazardous materials endorsements, which are also subject to determinations by state authorities.

PHMSA: Enforcement Policy Notice Regarding Hazardous Materials Training

For 90 days, PHMSA will not take enforcement action on the federal requirement to conduct refresher training for hazardous material employees. PHMSA emphasizes that employers may still utilize web based, remote, or on the job training to satisfy the refresher training requirement. See DOT: Guidance on Compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations.

  •  

Federal IRS Guidance Documents for COVID-19

Good morning Small Business Partners,

There are two NEW pages on IRS.gov, plus the original page – Coronavirus Tax Relief.

  1. NEW!   IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-critical functions continue. This page provides an overview of changes related to IRS operations and guidance for taxpayers during this period.
  2. NEW!   FAQs – excellent info!  Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers

I’m copying a few FAQs that could be of interest to small business owners. These are not in numerical order.

Q17. Does this relief provide me more time to contribute money to my IRA for 2019?

A17. Yes. Contributions can be made to your IRA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns has been postponed to July 15, the deadline for making contributions to your IRA for 2019 is also extended to July 15, 2020. For more details on IRA contributions, see Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

Q21. Does this relief provide me more time to contribute money to my HSA or Archer MSA for 2019?

A21.  Yes. Contributions may be made to your HSA or Archer MSA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns is now July 15, 2020, under this relief, you may make contributions to your HSA or Archer MSA for 2019 at any time up to July 15, 2020.  For more details on HSA or Archer MSA contributions, see Publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and other Tax-Favored Health Plans.

Q16. The Notice postpones the deadline for first quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments due on April 15, 2020. What about second quarter estimated tax payments due on June 15? Have they been postponed as well?

A16. No, second quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. First quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

Q6. Does the relief provided in the Notice apply to payroll or excise taxes?A6.  No, under the Notice, normal filing, payment, and deposit due dates continue to apply to both payroll and excise taxes.

As of today: