I’ve talked to many of you this week and there were a few things on your minds:
Valuable Info for Stores Reopening
How to handle the question of sanitizing books for reopening is one of the most frequently asked questions right now. Some stores are removing books that have been touched from the shelves for a few days before putting them back. Some stores are attempting to wipe books down after they’ve been touched. Some stores have considered providing gloves, or only letting staff wearing gloves touch books. The CDC has reiterated in recent days that they do not believe the virus spreads easily via surfaces. We’ll continue to research the topic and keep you updated but in the meantime, the Institute of Museum and Library Services hosted a session with Dr. David Berendes and Dr. Catherine Rasberry from the Centers for Disease Control for libraries back in March that offered some valuable insight about books and cardboard, how to keep staff safe, and what to focus sanitizing efforts on. And for more information, check out ABA’s Resources for Reopening page.
Possible Good News About PPP
Many bookstores that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money are struggling to understand and meet the requirements for their PPP loan to be forgivable. I’ll reiterate my refrain that communication is the best thing you can be doing for your business right now. In this case, communicate with your lender. Have a conversation sooner rather than later about your understanding of the requirements and what you’re doing to meet them to ensure that you’re on the same page as your lender. In the meantime, stay tuned. There’s a ways to go but yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act. If passed into law as is, it would give businesses up to 24 weeks to spend PPP funds and still have the Small Business Administration loans forgiven. The legislation extends the time period to pay back any unforgiven portion of the loan from two years to five years and allows businesses whose loans are forgiven to delay payment of payroll taxes. Further, the bill includes additional exemptions to the reduction in loan forgiveness for not maintaining employee levels if certain criteria are met. It would also reduce the requirement that 75% of the money be used on payroll to 60%, allowing more of the money to be spent on other expenses. However, it is important to note that even with the reduction to 60%, loan forgiveness may still be reduced if you do not rehire your employees and maintain pay. While this bill doesn’t solve all of the problems with PPP, it is a step in the right direction.
Contact your Senators NOW to tell them to quickly pass the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act! The eight-week period for many businesses is running out, and small businesses need to be able to plan for the future. Uncertainty surrounding current PPP guidelines is making planning next to impossible. Pass the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act today! Your email to them can be as simple as stating those facts.
Racism in America
The top five selling books on IndieCommerce and IndieLite the last few days have been: How to be an Antiracist; White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism; Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor; So You Want to Talk About Race; and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This bestseller list is a sign of hope for humanity, and at the same time, not nearly enough. This was a painful week for our country and I can’t begin to know the pain for our booksellers of color. Our thoughts are also with our bookstores in Minneapolis. There is so much more to say as a human being, but as CEO of ABA I just want to restate ABA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and our belief that anti-racism is part of that commitment. ABA will continue to develop programming and services to live up to that commitment. To borrow from Eleanor Roosevelt’s statement about peace, it isn’t enough to talk about anti-racism or believe in it. We must work at it.
ABA is here for all of you. Please reach out if there is anything we can help with. We are an incredibly creative, resilient, supportive industry. We’ll get through this, together.