NEXT AICC COVID-19 VIDEOCONFERENCE: Friday, May 29| 2:00 pm ET | Featuring guest speaker Scott Clemons, CFA, Partner, Chief Investment Strategist,Brown Brothers Harriman. Scott will give an economist's point of view on the current situation.
Join the videoconference. You can also participate via phone, but will not have access to the "chat" feature. Dial 929.205.6099 and enter meeting ID 834 0591 8863.
In two new IRS Notices (2020-29 and 2020-33), issued on May 12, 2020, there are temporary changes to the rules governing Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) through 2020 due to COVID-19, and permanent changes to both FSAs and certain Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) that will begin this year and extend forward into the future.
The Whitehouse has issued an Executive Order instructing Federal Agencies toaddress this economic emergency (brought on by Covid-19) by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.
“Six Ways to Error-Proof Your Plant Floor” is a free webinar presented by Food Engineering. While geared to food processing plants, several of which have been in the news lately, there could be some best practices to be learned from this highly regulated, clean environment, that can bring value to your plant and teams.
At the end of April, the Federal Reserve announced the Main Street Lending Program, which offers $600B in loans to medium and small size businesses. The NAM has provided an FAQs document to assist in your evaluation of this program.
Earlier in May, the IRS updated their FFCRA Fact Sheet, which outlines tax credits to reimburse employers for the costs of providing paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave to employees unable to work because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
W&H, a manufacturer and installer of C.I. flexo presses for flexible packaging is using mobile offices on installation sites to keep installation employees, and customer employees separated and safe during a project.
OSHA has revised its Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Covid-19. Effective Tuesday May 26, 2020, it provides interim guidance for enforcing the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1904 with respect to the recording of occupational illnesses, specifically cases of COVID-19.
Commercial and publication printer Quad Graphics has graciously shared the Quad Safe at Work Program to the printing industry at large. There is a lot of best practices information here to keep your team and facility safe. AICC thanks Joel Quadracci and Printing Impressions.
On Friday the Treasury released a PPP Loan Forgiveness Application.Of note are the borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30 and the addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.
Workshare programs available from many states let businesses temporarily reduce the hours of their employees, instead of laying them off during economic downturns. Technically referred to as short time compensation, the goal of workshare programs is to reduce unemployment
AICC held a videoconference on Friday, May 15. Over 100 member companies participated. This week featured a presentation, Beyond The Pandemic: Cash Flow And Strategies For The New Economy, by Gene Marks, CPA, a popular AICC speaker and frequent writer for The Hill, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine and The Guardian. Gene has written 5 books on business management, specifically geared towards small and medium sized companies. His most recent is In God We Trust, Everyone Else Pays Cash.
The antitrust statement was read before the recording began. Download Gene's updated presentation.Read the chat that accompanied the call and the notes provided by AICC Emerging Leaders, Evan Clary, JS Machine, and Lauren Frisch, Wasatch Container.
The NAM has shared a document outlining the best practices for facility safety, put into place by one of their member companies, Click Bond.It can serve as template for you to review and enhance your own practices.
For members with operations, partners or interests in Mexico, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced that Mexico will lift restrictions on critical businesses in the coming days. The construction, mining and transportation manufacturing sectors will be added to Mexico’s list of essential activities and allowed to reopen on May 18, and shuttered companies in other sectors will be allowed to reopen on June 1, subject to region-specific conditions. Click here and here for details on the announcement.
The SBA has made an important update in their guidance concerning PPP. In essence this new guidance offers a “safe harbor” ruling that any borrower who received less than $2M in PPP funds will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. Refer to question 46 for this topic.
You can use this tool to tell Congress that manufacturers that have stayed on the job and worked to enact safeguards for employees deserve protections against bad-faith coronavirus-related lawsuits. Essential manufacturers should not be punished for doing the right thing. Companies that take action should look for a follow-up from the NAM on how they can get more involved on this critical issue.
AICC advocacy partner the NAM has sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requesting clarifying guidance so that small manufacturers can continue to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program.
As part of the Federal Reserve’s ongoing efforts to inject capital into the economy through liquidity facilities for businesses impacted by COVID-19, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has announced that its Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility will start purchasing exchange-traded funds on May 12. The SMCCF will also begin purchasing eligible corporate bonds in the near future. Read the announcement and FAQs to learn more about how companies can benefit from this program.
With states initiating their reopening plans, AICC partner Sikich LLC has compiled information that you need to consider for your business whether you have never shut down, hoping to reopen shortly or something in between.
AICC Folding Carton Technical Advisor Tom Weber (Ask Tom) has shared a thoughtful article written by Dr. Erin Bromage, “Covid-19 – The Risks. Know Them. Avoid Them”which can be informative as you plan and re-plan your in-plant/in-office Covid strategies.
The Department of Labor and the IRS have jointly issued the extension of certain time frames under ERISA and IRS rules for group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 National Emergency.
As the Government tightens need requirements for PPP to ensure that the funds have gone/are going to qualified companies, AICC Partner Sikich LLC has provided a helpful guide to help you with your evaluation.
The IRS has provided guidance regarding the deductibility for Federal income tax purposes of certain otherwise deductible expenses incurred in a taxpayer’s trade or business when the taxpayer receives a loan (covered loan) pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Please read the notice carefully. AICC member Mitch Klingher of Klingher Nadler Associates says, “…the notice serves to deny taxpayers a deduction for expenses that are paid for with PPP loans that are forgiven. In my opinion, this was clearly not Congress’ intent when they said in the Cares Act that the loan forgiveness would be non-taxable. The only fixes for this are litigation, which will take a very long time, or legislation, which could straighten this out before anyone has to file a tax return. Everyone involved needs to get in touch with their Senators and Congressmen to get this added to whatever the next relief bill that Congress takes up. This will be a significant tax problem for almost every AICC member.”
AICC held a videoconference on Friday, May 1, for the packaging industry on COVID-19. Nearly 200 member companies participated. Adam Josephson of KeyBanc presented an update on the box market and containerboard industry. See Adam's slides. The antitrust statement was read before the recording began.
Read the chat that accompanied the call and the notes provided by AICC Emerging Leaders, Evan Clary, JS Machine, and Lauren Frisch, Wasatch Container. Please note, thee recording began after the antitrust statement was read.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday released new reopening guidance that is universally applicable to the broad U.S. population, including manufacturers and other businesses. The CDC webpage and its accompanying printout documents provide a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices.
The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced it is expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program. The program is designed to help credit flow to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the pandemic. Read the FAQs about the program.
MA extended the state’s stay at home order through May 18
LA extended the state’s stay at home order through May 15
OH outlined new operational guidance for manufacturers as the state prepares to partially reopen
AICC has joined other Associations and signed a letter to Congress requesting consideration of legislation offering legal safe harbor status for essential industries. Many AICC members, because they have remained operational during times of remarkable legal uncertainty, can risk becoming the targets of coronavirus-related lawsuits that will ultimately do nothing to reduce the spread of this disease or address the suffering that Americans have endured because of it. Congress must act to ensure that such misguided litigation does not derail our recovery.
So many AICC members have been producing PPE and other helpful items for hospitals, first responders and their communities. If you have the ability to produce these items but don’t have an outlet for donating them, please consider Good 360 which has been vetted by the National Association of Manufacturers and carries their approval
AICC launched its second member survey on Covid-19 issues and their effect on operations.There are surveys for both box making members and suppliers.The survey will close later this week.To participate please click on the appropriate link:
On Friday, nearly 200 participants shared their latest questions and answers on the AICC COVID-19 weekly videoconference. Helpful information was shared in the chat and AICC Emerging Leaders, Evan Clary, JS Machine, and Lauren Frisch, Wasatch Container shared their notes about the event.
IL extended the state’s stay in place order through May 30 — adding new restrictions on production lines and requiring face coverings.
NC extended its stay in place order through May 8, using the existing exemptions for essential businesses.
NM extended its stay in place order through May 15, using the state’s existing definition of businesses regarded as essential.
ID issued a phased reopening plan that would see a partial reopening of business beginning in the first half of May.
OK issued guidance for a “Phase I” reopening of the states non-essential businesses (see OK section for more) to phase in beginning April 24.
AK issued back to work guidance beginning April 24.
MT issued a health order outlining a back-to-work phase that will begin lifting some restrictions for non-essential businesses on April 27 (see MT section for more).
See CO, TN, GA and SC sections for more details about reopening plans in those states.
On Thursday the House of Representatives passed the Stimulus 3.5 Relief Bill previously passed by the Senate. Here are FAQs about this latest bill.
AICC participated in an interesting webinar put on by the NAM on Wednesday titled Post Covid-19: Prepping Your People for the New Normal. Watch the recording and see the corresponding support materials
AICC hosted a free webinar, Face Masks & PPE during COVID, Wednesday, April 22. The webinar, designed by AICC Emerging Leaders and sponsored by Gemini North America, This webinar spotlights AICC member companies that have experience with creating policies around masks in their workplace. As they share their experiences, we will learn:
Legal ramifications around company issued mask policy.
Different types of face masks available along with the advantages/disadvantages of each.
Proving Mask Training – proper ways to use, store, and sanitize.
States did not release updates yesterday that affect AICC members’ operations. Here is a grid showing each states’ current status on shutdowns and restrictions. Of note is that several states are beginning to post (see far right columns) outlines for what coming out of shutdown looks like.
Several members have inquired about thermometers for scanning employees upon arrival. AICC member Al Hoodwin of Michigan City Paper Box shared the following information on the Seek Scan Thermal Imaging System. A simple thermal imaging system designed to automate body temperature screening using skin temperature as a proxy. It can be installed in lobbies, hallways, and other key access points to help businesses, institutions and venues create a safer environment for their workforce, customers, members, and patrons. Easy-to-install and easy-to-use, the system can be up and running in minutes with no special equipment or training.
The Senate has passed the Stimulus 3.5 relief bill. It is expected that the House will take up the bill today. There is still time to let your legislator know how you feel about passing this bill. If passed, the new bill would, among other things:
Provide additional funding for PPP loans;
Provide additional funding for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program;
Provide the SBA with additional funding to help administer COVID-19 response programs;
Provide funding to Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for the purposes of reimbursing health care providers for expenses and lost revenues related to COVID-19; and
Provide funding for COVID-19 testing, nearly half of which would be distributed (in amounts dictated by the terms of the bill) to states, localities, territories and American Indian tribes.
This bill simply increases funding and does not make any substantive changes to the PPP or the EIDL program. Thus those small businesses that have already obtained funding through either program will not be impacted.
The American Forest & Paper Association has produced a “Thank You to the Paper and Wood Products Employees Delivering Essential Products” video
PA extended its stay at home order (for individuals, not businesses) and requirement for companies to provide face coverings for employees until May 8
CO, GA, TN and SC issued orders or guidance on plans to either lift or not renew stay at home orders and allow for the limited reopening of businesses in the state. See the above link for details specific to each state.
On the last videoconference, members asked questions about how to respond to a positive Covid-19 test of an employee. We share again the CDC guidance for such an incident.
The NAM has compiled a document on the implications of stay at home orders in Canada and Mexico. If you are an AICC member doing business across borders, please consider viewing this document.
Congress is considering additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Use this link, https://actnow.io/e4x9kWk, and share it with your employees to let your representatives know that you would like this program to continue.
All employees, especially the front line workers in the plants, can be feeling tremendous stress at these times. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce conducted a webinar on Cultivating Wellness in the Workplace. The NAM also conducted a webinar on Employee Morale which can be viewed here. Please share these links with the team member responsible for HR in your facility.
Acme Corrugated Box in Hatboro, PA has been a leader in employee wellness engagement and appreciation during this crisis. On Friday April 17 Acme held a “Thank You Rally” where approximately 30 Team Members, who have been working remotely since the week of March 16th, lined the street outside the plant with posters and cheers for the Production Team, at change of shift, to show the great appreciation, respect, and gratitude for all they are doing as Acme remains operational during this difficult time. The rally began as first shift exited the building, followed by second shift arriving a short bit later.
MS extended its stay at home order through April 27
IN will issue an order early this week extending the state’s stay at home order until May 1
TX has created a “Strike Force” to reopen the state for business which signals it likely will not extend the stay in force order (in its current form) past May 1
NY and MO have extended their stay at home orders until May 15
WI extended its order until May 26
Dallas County, TX issued requirements for essential workers to wear face coverings at work sites (see TX section)
CISA/DHS on April 17 updated its Critical Infrastructure Guidance. This is the Federal document that outlines essential businesses and workers and has language favorable to AICC general and associate members. Among the updates is the inclusion of “printers” and “packaging” in the medical section.
RISI/Fastmarkets conducted a webinar earlier in the month on the Impact of Covid-19 on Containerboard Markets. Watch the recording.
Garrett Bradley and Gemini North America are offering non-medical grade face masks to AICC members for $00.63 each. Garrett will also donate 1 million masks through the Deaconess Program for each 5 million masks sold. Please reach out to him at email@example.com or on his mobile 816-305-8271.
The AICC April 17 Packaging Industry Videoconference brought over 200 people together to ask and answer COVID-19 related questions.
You can read the "chat" and the event notes provided by AICC Emerging Leaders, Evan Clary, JS Machine, and Lauren Frisch, Wasatch Container.
The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by AICC of the linked websites, or the information, products or services contained therein. AICC does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations nor does AICC make any representation of their accuracy or completeness. Please contact those websites with any questions.
Today at 1:00 pm ET NAM is hosting a webinar, Employee Wellness: Improving Morale During COVID-19. The webinar is free, but you do need to register in advance.
AICC member RapidBond has recently become a distributor for the Power Breezer. The Power Breezer is a portable atomizing fan/sprayer, that provides cooling as well as disinfection & purification of the environment, using only water and bleach to operate. Learn more. Contact Mike Kocherga, Mobile: +1-619-884-4334, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maximum direct spray distance 65 feet (20 meters): http://landing.powerbreezer.com/covid-19/.
The equipment can be easily placed in critical spaces, reception areas, plant entrances, truck loading areas, etc.
A single unit disinfects & cools up to 3,000 square feet (232 m2).
The integrated 85-gallon water tank can last up to five days.
Does not wet users or equipment.
AICC vendor, Delta Marketing, has started selling masks and other medical supplies. Some types are available to ship now. See what is available.
AICC members are doing some very innovative things to help keep kids entertained and help out in these uncertain times, including Carlisle Container Co, who designed these amazing Hideaway Houses (and as much as we love our tiny people I am sure by this point some of us wouldn't mind hiding from them for a bit.) See Adam Wolf's or Diane Wolf's post on LinkedIn.
What is your company doing to help in the crisis? What amazing new things have you created because of the pandemic? Let us know. Email your stories to Virginia at email@example.com. We may include them in future updates or other AICC publications.
Economics During COVID-19: Impact and Cash Flow Practices. NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray and experts from BKD will discuss the state of the manufacturing economy and the practical measures manufacturers should consider for weathering the challenging business environment. You can register for the webinar, which will take place on Wednesday, April 15, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. Register.
Terry Carman, AICC's First Lady & wife of AICC Chairman Jay Carman, President, StandFast Group, has been sewing masks for StandFast and Blackhawk employees. They have been very appreciative of her efforts.
Thursday, April 9, AICC held its fourth industry COVID-19 videoconference. Over 200 people shared their questions, best practices, and ideas.
Helpful information was also shared in the chat. AICC Emerging Leaders, Evan Clary, JS Machine, and Lauren Frisch, Wasatch Container, volunteered to act as the scribes for the call and share their notes on the videoconference with members.
On Thursday’s AICC videoconference, Greg Tucker of Bay Cities spoke of an automated kiosk that can take an employee’s temperature. He was kind enough to share this information: Arch Staffing has been able to conduct temperature checks through our unmanned onsite kiosks at our client sites through thermal imaging cameras. Watch a short video to see how employee’s temperatures could even be checked remotely by a health professional through Telemedicine. Contact Rob McConnell – President, Arch Staffing & Consulting, at 310.438.9718 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jana Harris of Harris Packaging mentioned Fiber Shield.org on today’s videoconference. Paperboard Packaging companies throughout the world are uniting to eliminate the shortage of COVID-19 protective face shields. About Fiber Shield: Our goal is to protect the medical community that we depend upon to protect us. Please join our community, share our resources and help defeat COVID-19.
Jim Nelson has referred Shirts and Logos as a possible source for face masks. Here is a sample of what they have available. The masks can be made with your company name or logo included on them. The price on this sheet is the retail price, but they are offering AICC members special pricing. The masks are made in Wisconsin. If there are questions, feel free to connect with Russ Gorman of Shirts and Logos at 414.254.3606.
AICC yesterday AICC hosted COVID-19 and Business Continuity (The Next 90 Days), a webinar featuring Dan Pascale, CPP, Executive Vice President of Margolis Healy and Associates.
Lastly, as you know, packaging can be reused before it is recycled...
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
This is the first day since we’ve been maintaining this site that there is no new information regarding state closures, shelter in place orders, or essential business orders that are relevant to AICC members. It is a good time to re-share a link to the NAM grid that shows the current situation in all 50 states. It’s a good time for you to reference what your state expects of you, your employees, and your business.
The Treasury Department has released an updated list of FAQs regarding the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
AICC partner Suzy Cummins has shared an interesting document entitled “What are my Options,” which maps out COVID-related instances that may occur in your plant along with response options from the employer, the state, and the FFCRA. This document, which contains information from the State of Georgia, should be modified with your own in-plant solutions and those of your state unemployment statutes. The FFCRA solutions can be considered more or less universal but may require HR or legal review and comment.
New York extended the state’s stay in place guidance until April 29.
South Carolina has a stay in place order ordering “non-essential” businesses to close, not including manufacturers among those non-essential businesses; at the same time, the state clarified its travel restrictions to exempt essential businesses as defined by federal CISA guidance from self-quarantine requirements.
For those of you who attended the AICC webinar on 4/2 with Mitch Klingher on FFCRA, the CARES Act, and business continuity, Mitch has shared the slides from the webinar.
States continue to announce and evolve their stay at home orders and their guidelines for essential businesses, found on NAM's Daily State Tracker, which we have summarized below:
On Friday night, South Carolina issued a stay in place order ordering “non-essential” businesses to close, not including manufacturers among those non-essential businesses; at the same time, South Carolina clarified its travel restrictions to exempt essential businesses as defined by federal CISA guidance from self-quarantine requirement.
On Friday, Missouri adopted a stay at home order that exempts manufacturers designated as “essential” under the federal CISA guidance.
On Friday, Alabama adopted a stay at home order designating as “essential” manufacturers broadly, as well as those identified under federal CISA guidelines.
On Thursday, Georgia issued a stay in place order with exemptions for “essential” business as defined by the federal CISA guidelines, plus suppliers for those businesses.
The Association for Print Technologies has posted a “Disaster Recovery Toolkit” for the global printing industry that offers many good tips to follow.
On April 1, the U.S. Department of Labor published the FFCRA implementing regulations. We now have until April 30 until the regulations will be fully enforced. Towards that end, Christine Walters will again host a FREE webcast on Wednesday, April 8th from noon -1:30 EDT. Read more and register. This is not an AICC webinar, but Christine has been a valued AICC partner and speaker and we appreciate her sharing her expertise and knowledge with interested AICC members.
Friday, April 3, AICC hosted its third Packaging Industry COVID-19 Videoconference. Nearly 300 people shared their questions, best practices, and ideas. The beginning of the videoconference, which included reading the antitrust statement and some housekeeping details was not captured in the recording.
Helpful information was also shared in the chat. AICC Emerging Leaders, Evan Clary, JS Machine, and Lauren Frisch, Wasatch Container, volunteered to act as the scribes for the call and share their notes on the videoconference with members.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) late last night issued an “Interim Final Rule,” which provides guidance and answers questions regarding section 1102 of the CARES Act, which is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Based on yesterday’s AICC webinar with Mitch Klingher on the recent legislation and how it affects AICC members, there were many questions about this program. See the document.
GA has issued a stay in place order while OH modified an existing order while OK and TX modified travel restrictions. New travel rules have been announced in KS. See NAM Daily State Tracker.
Key state updates within the last 24 hours include:
Georgia issued a stay in place order with exemptions for “essential” business as defined by the federal CISA guidelines, plus suppliers for those businesse.
Ohio extended its stay in place order through May 1, maintaining existing exemptions for manufacturer.
Oklahoma and Texas have updated their travel restrictions to provide clearer guidance and exempt essential businesses from the order.
The Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers are combining efforts to bolster the business community’s response to shortages of urgently needed supplies. These organizations have developed an online survey to identify existing supplies and new manufacturing capacity to support emergency production efforts. All members of America’s business community are invited to join by completing this survey. The aim is to aid government’s efforts to deploy resources quickly and where they are needed most.
New stay in place orders include FL (statewide), SC, NV, and ME. There are new orders in the SFO Bay Area imposing stricter stay in place restrictions, along with travel restriction updates in OK and TX and new orders in DE. See the NAM Daily State Tracker.
Florida issued a stay in place order that adopts the federal CISA guidance for “essential” operations exempt from the order.
South Carolina issued an order closing several types of “nonessential” businesses, not including manufacturers.
On Tuesday night, seven Bay Area counties issued stay in place orders that tighten the definition of essential businesses.
Oklahoma and Texas have updated their travel restrictions to provide clearer guidance and exempt essential businesses from the order.
Delaware also issued new travel restrictions exempting essential businesses.
If your state is among those to recently introduce restrictions, please see our summary of key links and templates for downloadable letter templates for your employees, customers, partners and suppliers referencing the essential nature of your business. Read the NAM language regarding essential employees.
Tomorrow, April 3, the SBA loan application process opens for businesses affective by Covid 19, government ordered shutdowns and companies that are willing to keep workers on their payroll during these unsettled times. Download the application. Review the Borrower Information Fact Sheet.
Mitch Klingher of Klingher Nadler LLP will be the featured presenter in an AICC webinar entitled Covid-19 Legislative Tax Relief and its Impact on Manufacturers today,
Thursday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m. ET. This webinar will focus on the following topics:
Update of all recently enacted Federal legislation and IRS notices
Analysis of 2 types of SBA loans available for disaster relief
Discussion of how to preserve value during the coronavirus Pandemic including action steps to weather the tide
The Treasury Department is offering an Employee Retention Credit to businesses affected by Covid-19. There are two instances where the credit may be applied:
The employer’s business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 during the calendar quarter.
The employer’s gross receipts are below 50 percent of the comparable quarter in 2019. Once the employer’s gross receipts go above 80 percent of a comparable quarter in 2019 they no longer qualify after the end of that quarter.
AICC has always supported peer learning and connections. The strength of the Association iargely built upon the stength of the connections between members. At all AICC events we have facilitated connections. We have even seen this online during the weekly AICC Packaging Industry COVID-19 Videoconferences. To give members another outlet to share information we can created an online Community to allow member to ask and answer questions about COVID-19 and a variety of other topics. Learn how to find and use the Community. You must be logged in to participate.
Lastly, AICC understands we need to adjust to the times, so we are now allowing a new payment method for all outstanding invoices:
Happy April Fools Day!
March 31, 2020
On Monday March 30:
VA issued a stay in place order that does not appear to limit manufacturing operations.
TN issued a stay in place order that adopts the federal CISA definition for essential employees and adds additional language on manufacturing.
TX adopted strict restrictions on border crossings for Louisiana and implemented a process for employers to stipulate how to certify their cross-border employees as essential.
MD updated its guidance to enhance its stay in place enforcement but with no apparent changes to how manufacturers are impacted.
This is a reminder that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act goes into effect tomorrow, April 1 and that AICC members with less than 500 employees are all subject to the provisions of this law unless granted an exception, which is only available to companies with less than 50 employees. See a list of FAQs from the Department of Labor. Read all the resources from the Department of Labor that you may need to steer your way through compliance with the FFCRA.
Mitch Klingher of Klingher Nadler LLP will be the featured presenter in an AICC webinar entitled Covid-19 Legislative Tax Relief and its Impact on Manufacturers on Thursday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m. ET. This webinar will focus on the following topics:
Update of all recently enacted Federal legislation and IRS notices
Analysis of 2 types of SBA loans available for disaster relief
Discussion of how to preserve value during the coronavirus Pandemic including action steps to weather the tide
We have not shared the CISA language providing guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers since last week. This is the latest document, that has received many updates since originally issued two weeks ago. Members should be familiar with all sections of critical infrastructure identification, but we point members’ particular attention to the section on critical manufacturing.
The Thomas Register people, known today as simply Thomas, have put together a Coronavirus Resource Hub for manufacturers that includes several helpful links and a state by state guide to states with orders limiting business operations.
March 30, 2020
Here is the latest NAM daily update which includes a state by state look at the status of emergency orders and their affect on manufacturing. On Saturday evening, RI issued a “stay in place order” that only appears to affect retail businesses at this time.
Many in the industry have asked what should be done in the event that an employee tests positive for Covid-19. The NAM has put together this Q&A on procedures.
A NAM letter to governors calling for “uniform approach” and the “direct adoption” of Federal Guidelines on critical infrastructure. DHS/CISA revised the language on 3/19 and again on 3/28, with important elaboration on the supply chain. The most important addition to the language is this, “Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, and for supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base. Additionally, workers needed to maintain the continuity of these manufacturing functions and associated supply chains.”
Friday, March 27 AICC hosted its second packaging industry COVID-19 videoconference. On the conference, members received guidance from David Goch and Christine Walters on the Covid-related legislation that has recently been enacted. In addition, members shared experiences and advice on how to adjust and continue operations in these uncertain times. The third video conference is scheduled for this coming Friday, April 3 at 2:00 pm ET. See tomorrow’s daily update for information about how to join the videoconference.
During the videoconference several asked about the FEFCO flowchart, a template for what to do when an employee tests positive that was shared on this page earlier. While we could not sharpen the original picture shared, we have tried to recreate it. Good advice was also shared in the chat.
AICC member H.B. Fuller has an EPA approved, Covid-19 effective, disinfectant to clean equipment and non-porous surfaces and floors. Foster 40-80 is a water based, bleach free, biocide and virucide disinfectant that can be used to disinfect work areas. Foster 40-80 has been approved as a disinfectant against Covid 19 and is registered with the EPA. Our traditional channel to market is through distributors associated with restoration supplies. As a public service to AICC members, HB Fuller is making this product available directly.
Package: 5 gallon pails - FOSTER 40-80 L Q PT5P 18.90 KG
Minimum Order Quantity: 1 pallet /24 pails/120 gallons – Full Pallet Orders Only
Terms: FOB Houston TX.
$55 per 5 gallon pail – FOB Houston.
Minimum order one pallet – (24) pails per pallet.
One gallon covers 1000 SF
Product #10007910 – Disinfectant 40-80.
March 27, 2020
The State of CO issued a stay in place order yesterday. While not referencing the DHS/CISA language, Section III C. 2 & 3 of the Public Health Order clearly mentions packaging and other supply chain support of critical businesses as also critical. See the updated daily state tracker. This should be a daily must-read for you.
If you are a business of 500 employees or less, the Families First Relief Act affects you. Your business needs to display an FFCRA Poster.
The Department of Labor (DoL) states, “Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements.” Since many of your employees may be working remotely, you may want to use another communication vehicle, such as your intranet or employee email blast to give them the link to the poster or a PDF of the poster itself. Read FAQs regarding the poster
AICC hosted a webinar with Christine Walters of FiveL yesterday. Christine has been a partner of AICC human resources issues and employment law for many years. The webinar walked the 65 attendees through the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). Read the slides associated with the presentation.
With the current economic environment where so many packaging sales resources are on restricted travel, many packaging companies are thinking about alternative (virtual) methods to develop new business for sustainable sales growth. Athena SWC, LLC CEO Todd Zielinski, a frequent BoxScore contributor, will be hosting a free educational webcast for packaging manufacturers on Thursday, April 2nd at 11am EST. The webcast will provide an overview of a virtual best practice process model leveraging proven outbound and inbound marketing methodologies, focused on new business development efforts specific to packaging manufacturing environments. Learn more and register.
BridgeWorks is offering a webinar, Generational Communication in a Time of Crisis, Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 1:00 PM CT. BridgeWorks’ keynote speakers Phil Gwoke and Scott Zimmer will be offering insights and a framework on how to manage and communicate with each generation on your team during times of uncertainty. Learn more and register.
The States of MN, MS, ME, NM, and OK issued stay in place orders yesterday. Oklahoma’s is a partial stay at home order that affects the counties with the most Covid-19 cases. All these states have adopted DHS/CISA guidance relative to essential businesses which is favorable to packaging-related businesses and their supply chains. Several jurisdictions have announced local orders in FL and NC. See the updated daily state tracker. This should be a daily must-read for you.
AICC has seen a surge of learners at AICC’s Packaging School in the face of the Covid-19 situation. Social distancing does not have to mean stopping your training efforts in the plant. If you are already a Packaging School “scholar,” interested in taking your first course or wanting to put on a training program for your team, visit The Packaging School.
On Tuesday, March 24, AICC Mexico held a video conference for its members to discuss how Covid-19 is affecting their employees, operations, and customers.
This may also be useful for U.S.-based Spanish first language speakers to get membership perspective in their native tongue.
March 25, 2020
The States of WI, KS, VT, HI, and WA issued stay in place orders yesterday that adopt DHS/CISA guidance relative to essential businesses. This guidance has established language indicating packaging related businesses and their supply chains as “essential.” See the updated daily state tracker. There are several very helpful links at this site, including references to individual cities that have made or are contemplating making restriction declarations due to Covid-19.
AICC Canada President Stephen Moore of Moore Packaging issued this letter to AICC Canada members noting the critical nature of the role Canadian packaging companies play in the supply chain and supporting a letter to Canada’s Prime Minister from the Canadian Corrugated Case Association.
AICC Mexico held a videoconference yesterday, March 24, with nearly 60 participants discussing the effect of Covid-19 on their operations and how they are responding to the challenges for their employees and customers.
FEFCO has canceled their Summit 2020 which was to be held in Amsterdam in May. FEFCO also shared this quote from the Eduoard Philippe, Prime Minister of France.
March 24, 2020
More states announced business restrictions yesterday, MI, MA, IN, WV and MD. Each of these states is using the Federal DHS/CISA language outright or in some modified form. This lanugage is favorable to packaging operations and their suppliers.
At the same time, DHS made a key update to the CISA guidance: In addition to those industries recognized as critical manufacturing, the new language adds: “Additionally, workers needed to maintain the continuity of these manufacturing functions and associated supply chains.” This is great news for all AICC members, general and associate.
The States of VA, CO and OR implemented business restrictions yesterday that do not affect manufacturing operations.
NEW DATE: Thursday, March 26, at 2:00 pm ET AICC is hosting a free webinar for members, HR COVID-19 Advice & Input, led by Christine V. Walters, J.D., MAS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Independent Consultant, FiveL Company. The webinar will cover issues impacting employers including the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, CDC Risk Assessment Guidance, and other legal issues. Register now.
AICC will participate in two Covid related teleconferences today, one by the Small Business Legislative Council and one by the NAM. We’ll provide all relevant information in tomorrow’s update.
March 23, 2020
AICC held a videoconference on Friday, March 20, for members on the topic of Covid-19. More than 385 member companies participated. Several members shared the measures they are taking to keep their employees safe, their customers informed, and their operations continuing. Most of the hour-long forum was filled with peer to peer questions and answers. To listen to a recording of the videoconference, download the files here (NOTE: You will not be able to listen in your web browser, you must download them first. Video and audio only options are available) or watch the video below. There were also many helpful tips shared by members in the chat.
AICC’s members are facing new challenges and changing their operations to accommodate the COVID-19 crisis. In a concurrent survey of box making and supplier members conducted in the week of March 16, 148 of AICC member companies – or 36% -- responded to questions about the kinds of impacts they see in their businesses as the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout North America. Read the summaries of the box maker member survey results, and the supplier member survey results.
Many members have been asking AICC to provide procedures that can be followed in the event that an employee tests positive for Covid-19. Our friends at FEFCO, the European Federation Corrugated Board Manufacturers, have shared this flow chart for this situation.
The following states, as part of their State of Emergency declarations, have limited business activities. California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey. Of these, California and Connecticut refer to language that comes from the DHS/CISA offering “Critical Infrastructure Guidance.” The other states have offered language that is not rooted in the Federal wording but does offer consideration for the activities of AICC members.
UPDATED 11:30 AM:
Additional States have announced business restrictions, along with exceptions and proactive measures.
The State of Ohio, effective at noon today, March 23. Ohio is using the Federal Critical Infrastructure Guidance in their definition of essential businesses which has language favorable for packaging related companies to remain open.
The State of Louisiana, effective at 5 p.m. today, March 23. Louisiana is using the Federal Critical Infrastructure Guidance in their definition of essential businesses, which has language favorable for packaging related companies to remain open.
Several other states are taking proactive measures ahead of shutdowns. Please see the updated NAM State Restriction Snapshot Tracker. Specifically, these states are providing links for you to establish your business as essential:
North Carolina companies should email email@example.com with the following information: Business name; Point of contact (including name, email, phone number and address); Nature of their business and why they are critical to continue operations.
Minnesota has now opened a survey for companies to compile essential business information for them to use to share with the governor.
Please call 703-535-1386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at the AICC office, if you are seeking clarity or support.
AICC, as a member of the Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) was a signatory to the letter that went to the Director of DHS/CISA with copies to the governors of all 50 States.
Finally, during this time, when information is more critical than ever, Board Converting News has launched a web version of their weekly publication, www.boardconvertingnews.com, known familiarly as “The White Sheets.” We wish them luck with the timely launch of this product and encourage AICC members to support it.
Weekend Update (3.20 5:30 PM ET)
Thank you to the nearly 400 participants on today's AICC Covid-10 Zoom Conference.We will post a recording of the session at this site on Monday morning, March 23.
Advice heard on the conference that we want to share immediately (some with details to follow):
Keep in constant communication with your employees. They're scared and need to be reassured that you take their safety seriously as they set about providing the essential services of your business.
Cover all common touchpoints (push buttons, touch screens, etc.) on your equipment with cellophane immediately and change as often as the user accessing the equipment.
AICC hopes to share protocols to follow should an employee that has been in the plant test positive for Covid-19.Several members on the call shared that there is a spray sanitizer "bomb" that can be set off in an affected area and cleanse quickly.We are hoping to receive details.
EEOC has provided waiver for the taking of employee temperatures.Ensure that your HR Department is up to speed.
There will be an AICC Webinar with Christine Walters of FiveL on Monday, March 30, 2020.See details.
"Employers, employees, federal, state, and local agencies are all working at a frenetic pace searching for answers to questions about how to administer various employment policies, programs, and practices in light of COVID-19." This program will walk through the latest issues impacting employers, including:
FAQ's – including the Family First Coronavirus Response Act
CDC Risk Assessment Guidance
Free 11-page (Client) Alert
If you are a member of the supply chain for an essential business in Pennsylvania, but your business has been decreed non-essential, here is a waiver for PA to keep physical locations open.
AICC sent an e-mail last night that linked a document from the Department of Homeland Security/Cyber+Infrastructure (CISA).Read: Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.This document outlines “critical Federal Infrastructure” and is meant to be used to advise State governments and local jurisdictions as to what businesses the Federal Government considers essential.
We applaud the Federal Government’s language because it is not restrictive in that it correctly likens supply chains to “infrastructure,” which covers many AICC member companies, particularly Associates, who provide essential goods and services to keep critical businesses operating during the crisis and in the case of state shutdowns.
The NAM has created a template that can be used to inform your local and state jurisdictions as to the essential nature of your business NAM Tools on Essential Manufacturing Operations (document download).Once complete, share via e-, express, and regular mail with your Local, State, and Federal Representatives.You can, of course, edit this to best suit the nature and situation regarding your business at this time.
Royal Containers in Canada has been gracious enough to share their list of industry protocols which offers a number of practices, declarations, assessments and questionnaires with a series of templates that can be applied to your company’s Covid-19 response plan.
Develop an “Amber Alert” type system for your employees wherein you can broadcast communicate with them via their mobile phones.AICC is endeavoring to get the names of vendors who can provide this service.
TAPPI and AICC are deeply committed to holding SuperCorrExpo 2020. Of course, in a fast-changing situation like we are in now, and with the health and well-being of our attendees and exhibitors at the forefront of everything we do, we will closely monitor this ongoing situation. SuperCorrExpo is scheduled for September 13-17, 2020, so we remain optimistic about the outlook in the Fall.
Rest assured, however, that if any alternative decisions are made, we will communicate them immediately to you. We fully understand and respect the commitment that is made to attend a show like SuperCorrExpo. For the latest updated information visit – www.supercorrexpo.org.
March 19, 2020
AICC partner, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), is working with the CDC in crafting policy language which would extend the “essential business” tag to manufacturing operations that are supporting the supply chains of identified essential businesses. This would offer some Federal guidance. The fact is that many local jurisdictions and state governments are already acting in limiting non-essential businesses.
It is the AICC’s position that packaging manufacturing operations are essential in support of the supply chain of an essential business in any state.
The American Forest & Paper Association issues notice encouraging governments to recognize paper and wood products manufacturing facilities as “essential” when drawing up shelter in place plans.
Yesterday, the Senate passed, and the President signed, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Read a summary of the provisions of the bill as well as tabs to the text and additional details . Among its many provisions, the bill establishes mandatory paid employee/self-employed sick leave and family medical leave; compensating payroll tax credits; no cost Covid-19 testing; the bill sunsets on December 31, 2020
Christine has been providing sound Human Resources advice at AICC meetings and conferences for several years. We hope to have her on tomorrow’s tele/video conference at 2:00 p.m. She will be hosting a webinar on Monday, March 23 on Covid-19 that AICC members can attend (details to follow), and AICC will host its own webinar with Christine on Monday, March 30, 2020 (details to follow).
Members have inquired about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act legislation going through the Congress. The House passed the bill on Saturday and it is currently being debated in the Senate. The link summarizes what you need to know, but please keep in mind that the ongoing legislative process will likely change what we know today. We will endeavor to provide information daily as the process evolves in the Congress.
Advice for your consideration from your fellow AICC Members
Be the voice with your employees. Be visible.
Offer flexibility on the plant floor by creating opportunities for “shift swapping” where a day worker can trade time with a night worker who has kids home because schools are closed and has no day care option.
Waive employees’ absentee points.
Close/control the use of the break room(s) to promote social distancing.
Create a cross functional task force that meets daily to discuss best practices, policies and communications in order to assure all efforts to keep employees safe.
We’re taking the temperature of every employee as they enter the building to assure co-workers. (NOTE: Check with your HR Department and always comply with HIPAA regulations.)
One member doing this abandoned the practice as employees coming in from the cold would trigger lower than normal readings for up to 30 minutes after entering the building
Lock down the building to only your workers and any screened, approved outsiders and assure your employees that you always know who is inside and that they have confirmed that they are without symptoms.
We are conducting no meetings with more than 8 people.
If you are having employees that are working from home (accounting, HR, sales, IT, purchasing, graphics, etc.) occasionally coming into the office, split the rotations into set groups of employees across departments. This will minimize the chances of losing an entire department to illness. If they don’t have to come to the office, even better.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to provide resources for your business if your operation(s) are located in a state that has declared an emergency relative to the Coronavirus.
If you are joining the tele/video conference on Friday March 20 at 2 p.m., this will be a Zoom conference so you will need to download the Zoom app. If you do not have it on your computer you will be prompted to do so when you join your first meeting, so sign-on a few minutes early to make sure your computer is ready.
AICC has received several inquiries from members around the country in response to the most recent developments in the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to provide timely information and allow the industry to discuss common concerns and solutions to the challenges posed by this national emergency, AICC will hold a national audio and video conference call this coming Friday, March 20, at 2 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. Central; 12:00 p.m. Mountain and 11:00 a.m. Pacific.)
Join the meeting via phone: dial 929 205 6099; Meeting ID 149 860 883
The purpose of this call is to allow members to ask questions of AICC leadership and other box making members and share what they are doing in their companies to address this unprecedented situation in our industry’s history. The call will last one hour. Please send AICC your three most pressing questions to Alyce Ryan at email@example.com.
Additional Important Information
Last week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued further recommendations on limiting social gatherings and organizational activities to as few as 25 people. Meanwhile, due to the nature of the National Emergency declared last week by the President, individual states and municipalities are also setting their own edicts on the closings of schools, restaurants and bars, entertainment and recreation facilities as well as commercial businesses. When issuing these restrictions, several localities are defining what they call “essential” versus “non-essential” businesses, and this is raising concern among AICC’s membership and the industry at large on whether “corrugated packaging” is or is not considered an “essential business” under varying jurisdiction’s guidelines.
In an effort to provide some clarity on this, AICC has obtained language from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that can provide some guidance for us. Note that not all states or municipalities may adopt this language, therefore it is important for you, the members, to be fully aware of what your state, county or city is doing as it defines local restrictions on operation of “commercial,” “industrial,” and “essential” versus “non-essential.”
In his declaration issued on Monday, March 16, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf stated the following:
Non-essential businesses include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities, including but not limited to community and recreation centers; gyms, including yoga, barre and spin facilities; hair salons and barber shops, nail salons and spas; casinos; concert venues; theaters; sporting event venues and golf courses; retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations.
Essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.” [Emphasis added.]
As you and your company are confronted with your individual state and local restrictions, please communicate the following industry facts to your local officials:
1.Corrugated packaging is an essential part of the supply chain to the essential services and sectors outlined above.
2.According to Fibre Box Association, upwards of 40% of all corrugated packaging is consumed by the food and beverage industry
3.Between 7-9% of corrugated packaging is used by the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries
4.Amazon recently announced it will hire up to 100,000 additional workers nationwide to handle increased online ordering being done in response to the coronavirus. Amazon’s orders cannot reach consumers without corrugated packaging products in their various sizes and configurations
5.Ninety-five percent of all goods shipped are shipped in corrugated board
6.More than 90% of all corrugated is recovered from the waste stream and recycled, making the average 100% post-consumer content of a corrugated box between 43-46%.
7.Recent studies show that corrugated provides the least hospitable surface for the survival of the coronavirus: the virus can only survive on paperboard surfaces for a maximum of 24 hours, and usually far less; on surfaces such as metal, plastic and natural stone (e.g., granite countertops) it can survive as long as three days.
In addition, AICC believes that it is important for you to communicate these facts to your employees. We do not believe it to be an exaggeration to think of this as a “war” and that they are on its “front lines.” Remind them:
1.The products they are making are vitally important in the distribution of critically needed food, pharmaceuticals, and related medical supplies as well as millions of other products via online delivery platforms
2.Your company and your employees, through the corrugated and paperboard products they are making, are on the “front lines” in our national fight against the spread of the coronavirus
3.The work they are doing is vitally essential to our national security and the eventual resumption to normal life
Meanwhile, the House has passed, and the Senate is currently discussing legislation (H.R. 6201) https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201 that includes provisions for paid sick leave for employees that contract Covid-19 or have to care for a family member that has contracted the virus. The same legislation proposes tax breaks that offset some of the cost of these paid leaves. As this legislation moves forward, we will keep you appraised of how any final bill may affect your business.
Please see the active links below to updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, we strongly encourage you to go to your individual state’s websites for updates and guidance from state departments of health and safety.
You should have received a survey from AICC this morning regarding your activities and the effects your business is feeling from the pandemic. Please take the time to complete the survey and return it to AICC. We will share the responses with you at the AICC website.
March 12, 2020
AICC, The Independent Packaging Association, after careful consideration and in the interest of our members’ health and wellbeing, has canceled the 2020 Spring Meeting, which was scheduled for April 1-3 in Carlsbad, CA. Recent developments with COVID-19 in California, combined with updated corporate travel policy restrictions among member companies, led the AICC Executive Committee and staff to take this decision.
In addition, the CDC has assembled a list of recommendations for employers to plan and respond to the Coronavirus. If your company does not already have a plan for a public health emergency, AICC encourages you to consider developing one as you would for a fire, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster.
This site informs you about what you as an employer can do now and what you can do if the Coronavirus becomes a widespread outbreak in the future.
AICC recommends that you prepare with prudence and common sense. I