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Items filtered by date: November 2018

In this Best Practices document for the Horse Industry and Equestrian Community, the Maryland Horse Council suggests best practices for Lesson Programs during the COVID-19 "Maryland Strong - Roadmap to Recovery" Phases.  All segments of the horse industry and equestrian community must abide by all the State’s Mandated Guidelines at each Phase. All current mandates must be followed during each Phase, i.e. masks must be worn whenever required, limitations on the size of gatherings respected, and social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained.

Below are suggested Best Practices each lesson barn can consider as they plan for reopening and take steps to help the public, themselves, and staff stay as safe as possible. We are fully aware that types of barn operations, locations and types of facilities, and other regional differences will influence both the practicality and necessity of implementing these Best Practices for our Maryland stables. Organizers are strongly encouraged to abide by guidelines provided by local governing entities and national organizations such as the United States Equestrian Federation in implementing chosen Best Practices. We encourage stable owners and managers to use this list as a guide, and to determine additional Best Practices specific to their circumstances.

Suggestions for Lesson Programs:

(Barn owners may choose to adopt more restrictive procedures than those set forth here.)

  1. Access should not be allowed to anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, or anyone who has been exposed to a person with symptoms within the self-quarantine period.
  2. Instructors and students should wear face masks/coverings and use hand sanitation, as required by state and local jurisdiction. Students should wear gloves.
  3. Have visitors log in and out, install signage with posted rules, consider requiring COVID-19 specific liability waivers/agreements to be signed (check with legal counsel)
  4. Schedule set times for lessons to ensure limitations on size of gatherings can be maintained.
  5. Farm owners/barn managers should limit the number of students and staff on the premises, consistent with the current maximum number of persons allowable in a gathering and requirements for social distancing. In implementing this rule, barn owners should consider the size and accommodations of the facilities, the number of clients, and the ability of the facility owner/manager to limit contact and interaction between and among clients and staff.
  6. Frequently handled surfaces such as doorknobs, gate and stall latches, light switches, hoses, spray nozzles, pump handles, cross tie snaps, feed scoops, trash cans, truck and tractor doors and controls, etc., should be disinfected regularly.
  7. All enclosed communal areas must follow all social distancing guidelines or be closed to the public. No congregating with other students. instructors, boarders, management or staff, in areas including but not limited to tack rooms, feed rooms, wash stalls, hay lofts, equipment sheds, offices, lounges, barn aisles, parking lots etc.
  8. Observe social distancing during lesson check in, no sharing of pens, clipboards, etc.
  9. Lessons must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Number of students in each lesson and  number of  spectators must remain within applicable limitations on the size of gatherings.
  10. Lessons should be taught in outdoor arenas/areas to the greatest extent possible.
  11. Instructors should observe 6 feet distance from students and others during lessons.
  12. Students riding horses they own or lease should bring their own tack (including halters) and grooming supplies, and should do their own grooming, tacking and untacking.
  13. Instructors or barn staff should groom and tack, including bridling, for students riding school horses or horses in shared lease programs that use communal tack and grooming supplies. After the lesson, students should hand off the horse to the instructor or barn staff, who will untack the horse and wipe down reins, saddle seats and stirrup leathers.
  14. Only one other person (e.g., a parent or friend) may accompany student to barn.
  15. Mounting assistance, if needed, must be provided by the person who accompanied the student to the barn, not the instructor or staff.
  16. To the greatest extent possible, maintain social distance for payment, e.g., payment deposit box in barn, digital payment apps, etc. No sharing of pens, etc. Online payments and scheduling is preferred
  17. The facility should have a written emergency plan for handling injuries that is designed to maintain bio-security to the greatest extent possible.
Published in News
We have confirmed with the Maryland Department of Agriculture that Maryland state licensed boarding barns and lesson barns may resume operations under Governor Hogan’s May 6 order. The official statement and update from the Maryland Horse Industry Board can be viewed here. The Maryland Horse Council has approved the following suggested best practices for boarding barns and trail riding stables, to assist you in your reopen planning. We will be sending out similar suggestions for lesson barns soon.
 
Note that the statement from DNR regarding requirements for horseback riding applies only to lands under their jurisdiction. We have been trying to get DNR to remove the family requirement for riding on state lands, but so far they have held firm.
 
If you are not a Maryland Licensed stable, click here.
 

Best Practices for the Horse Industry & Equestrian Community- Boarding Barns

This Best Practices document for the Horse Industry and Equestrian Community covers the best practices during the COVID-19 "Maryland Strong - Roadmap to Recovery" Phases.  All segments of the horse industry and equestrian community must abide by all the State’s Mandated Guidelines at each Phase. All current mandates must be followed during each Phase, i.e. masks must be worn whenever required, limitations on the size of gatherings respected, and social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained.

Below are suggested Best Practices each sector can consider as they plan for reopening and take steps to help the public, themselves, and staff stay as safe as possible. We are fully aware that types of barn operations, locations and types of facilities, and other regional differences will influence both the practicality and necessity of implementing these Best Practices for our Maryland stables. Organizers are strongly encouraged to abide by guidelines provided by local governing entities and national organizations such as the United States Equestrian Federation in implementing chosen Best Practices. We encourage stable owners and managers to use this list as a guide, and to determine additional Best Practices specific to their circumstances.

Suggestions for Barns:

Barn owners may choose to adopt more restrictive procedures than those set forth here.

  1. Access should not be allowed to anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, or anyone who has been exposed to a person with symptoms within the self-quarantine period.
  2. Wearing face masks/coverings and hand sanitation is required
  3. Have a visitor log in and out, install signage with posted rules, consider requiring liability waivers/agreements to be signed (check with legal counsel)
  4. Schedule set times for staff, volunteers, participants and permitted family members on property to ensure limitations on size of gatherings can be maintained.
  5. Farm owners/barn managers should limit the number of horse owners/clients and staff on the premises, consistent with the current maximum number of persons allowable in a gathering and requirements for social distancing. In implementing this rule, barn owners should consider the size and accommodations of the facilities, the number of clients, and the ability of the facility owner/manager to limit contact and interaction between and among clients and staff.
  6. Require hand washing or sanitizing and possibly foot baths, by all persons entering and leaving the property, and after handling deliveries and equipment.
  7. Tack, equipment and supplies should not be shared if possible, and should be disinfected between uses if sharing is unavoidable. Frequently handled surfaces such as doorknobs, gate and stall latches, light switches, hoses, spray nozzles, pump handles, cross tie snaps, feed scoops, trash cans, truck and tractor doors and controls, etc., should be disinfected regularly.
  8. All enclosed communal areas must follow all social distancing guidelines or be closed to the public. No congregating with other horse owners, management or staff, including but not limited to tack rooms, feed rooms, wash stalls, hay lofts, equipment sheds, offices, lounges, barn aisles, parking lots etc.
  9. Horse owners/clients may ride their horses if all of the above conditions are met and as follows:
    1. A horse owner/client may ride on open trails with other mounted persons, presuming at least 6 feet of distance is maintained between horses. No groups larger than allowed under applicable limitations on size of gatherings.
    2. A Horse owner/client may ride in an arena (indoor or outdoor) with other mounted persons and instructors or other ground/unmounted person, as long as social distancing guidelines and limitations on size of gatherings are followed.
  10. Stables/Farms may host instructional/training clinics for horse owners/clients provided that the ride times are scheduled so that there is a limited number of riders in each group (no more than maximum allowed gathering size  including instructor and other ground person. if any) and so that there is sufficient time (15 minutes…) between groups to avoid congregating outside the ring.  
    1. For training/instruction/clinics, the only unmounted person permitted in the ring is the clinician, with the exception that for jumping clinics that clinician may have a jump setter in the ring as well (social distancing maintained). See limits on indoor use as above
    2. Payment and releases should all be exchanged electronically beforehand; no sharing of pens, clipboards, paperwork, checks, etc.
    3. Spectators/auditors are limited to the number of persons allowed under the current maximum number of people in a gathering (including riders and instructor/ground person) and must wear face masks and observe social distancing rules.
  11. Barn owners/managers must make clear that only one other person (e.g., a parent or friend) may accompany a client  to the barn. Guests and visitors must all be cleared by the barn owner/manager and adhere to social distancing guidelines
  12. Lessons must adhere to social distancing guidelines.  Number of students in each lesson and and number of  spectators must remain within applicable limitations on the size of gatherings.
  13. Instructors should observe 6 feet distance from students and others during lessons.
  14. To the greatest extent possible, maintain social distance for payment, e.g., payment deposit box in barn, digital payment apps, etc. No sharing of pens, etc. Online payments and scheduling is preferred
  15. The facility should have a written emergency plan for handling injuries that is designed to maintain bio-security to the greatest extent possible.
  16. Posted signs on safety/bio-security protocols and additional liability agreements.

For trail riding facilities:
Trail riding facilities may resume operations, subject to observance of the current social distancing rules and limitations on gatherings.  Horses should be groomed, tacked and untacked by staff. Reins, saddles and other commonly touched surfaces should be cleaned with saddle soap or disinfected after each ride.

Stables offering therapeutic riding and/or interaction with horses

Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies (EAAT), such as hippotherapy, equine-facilitated psychotherapy, and therapeutic riding are considered essential health services, and this would apply to those appropriately credentialed equine facilities that do on-site and off-site therapies. However, the current restriction on social distancing/prohibition against large gatherings must be followed, as well as the Best Practices in terms of disinfecting/cleaning.

Best Practices for the Horse Industry & Equestrian Community - Trail Riding 

This Best Practices document for the Horse Industry and Equestrian Community covers the best practices for Trail Riding and the use of Maryland’s Trail System during the COVID-19 "Maryland Strong - Roadmap to Recovery" Phases. All segments of the horse industry and equestrian community should abide by all the State’s Mandated Guidelines at each Phase. All current mandates must be followed during each stage, i.e . masks must be worn whenever required, and social distancing requirements and limitations on the size of gatherings must be observed.

Below are suggested Best Practices each sector can consider as they plan for reopening and take steps to help the public, themselves, and staff stay as safe as possible. We are fully aware that types of barn operations, locations and types of facilities, and other regional differences will influence both the practicality and necessity of implementing these Best Practices for our Maryland stables. Organizers are strongly encouraged to abide by guidelines provided by local governing entities and national organizations such as the United States Equestrian Federation in implementing chosen Best Practices.

We encourage stable owners and managers to use this list as a guide, and to determine additional Best Practices specific to their circumstances.

Suggestions for Trails

Trails Riders and organizations may choose to adopt more restrictive procedures than those set forth here.

  1. Access should not be allowed to anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, or anyone who has been exposed to a person with symptoms within the self-quarantine period.
  2. Abide by what trails are open for trail riding at each stage.
  3. Trail riders shall not ride in groups of more than 10 people, or what the state guideline currently mandates.
  4. If trail riding with others, each rider shall limit contact to their own horse, tack and equipment.
  5. It is the responsibility of riders to bring their own sanitizing supplies.
  6. If trailering to a park or other location to ride, horse owners may share trailers, but each owner must exclusively handle his/her own horse, tack and equipment. No one may accompany the towing vehicle driver, unless they are members of the same household.  Others must drive separately.
  7. Trail riders shall maintain social distancing guidelines while riding, whether riding single file or abreast.
  8. When passing others on the trails, riders shall adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  9. Trail riders should avoid narrow trails where it is not possible to pass other users without maintaining social distancing guidelines.
Published in News

The MHC has been working diligently to obtain confirmation from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that the below Facebook post appearing on the Maryland State Parks Facebook page on April 7, 2020, was in fact, official policy, and the reasons behind that policy.  

ALERT: In accordance with Governor Hogan’s emergency actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, horseback riding is prohibited in State Parks.

After some back and forth emails with Nita Settina, Superintendent, Maryland Park Service, DNR, we were provided with the following official statement by Ms. Settina on April 15, 2020.

"The decisions on outdoor recreation were made in consultation with the state’s legal experts on how to interpret the governor’s executive order. The intent of the governor’s executive order is for everyone to stay at home unless you absolutely must leave. 

While we realize that this is an inconvenience, risking unnecessary exposure is not just a hazard for you and your family, it puts our law enforcement, emergency responders, and staff in danger and diverts front line resources that are needed to respond to the pandemic. An exception for the care of live animals has been made in the executive order.

While the Stay at Home order does allow for outdoor exercise recreation, such activities must be limited to reduce potential exposure. Hiking, biking, and walking are expressly allowed under the executive order. Since kayaking and paddle boarding are both human-powered forms of exercise, akin to bicycling, they are permitted under the executive order. 

Activities that require significant time, travel, and use of common facilities exceed the intent of the order's allowance for exercise. Accordingly, state officials have determined commercial and recreational riding centers and stables should suspend operations (as stated in our online guidance FAQs), and the department has followed suit by suspending horseback riding on all public lands until the order is lifted."

We recognize that this statement leaves a lot of unanswered questions, including why only horseback riding is considered an activity that requires "significant time, travel, and use of common facilities" and why, if "the intent of the governor’s executive order is for everyone to stay at home unless you absolutely must leave,” that intent is not deemed to apply to others, for example, to those who load their bikes onto their cars and drive to distant state parks to cycle, or the groups of families and friends who pile into their cars to drive to parks and are, according to press reports, crowding trails with little regard for social distancing.  The MHC strives to maintain a positive relationship with DNR and the State Parks system. However, we are struggling to find a principled way to respond to those who claim that DNR appears to have an institutional bias against horses and horse people in view of this apparent discriminatory treatment.

We also don't understand the correlation between the closure of "commercial and recreational riding centers and stables" on the one hand, and the prohibition of riding in state parks on the other hand.  We are fairly certain that DNR is aware of the fact that many horses in Maryland are privately owned and maintained, and are not necessarily kept at "commercial and recreational riding centers and stables."  (In this regard, "public lands" as used in the statement, refers to state owned land, not county owned land.)

In response to our intent to post this article, Ms. Settina sent us further clarification on behalf of DNR on April 17, as follows:

  "One important point of clarification: the DNR website page that features COVID-19 FAQs has been updated to clarify that the prohibition on horseback riding does include riding on public lands. ( https://news.maryland.gov/DNR/2020/03/31/FREQUENTLY-ASKED-QUESTIONS-ABOUT-GOVERNOR-HOGANS-STAY-AT-HOME-ORDER/ )

In meeting the intent of the governor's stay at home order, other activities currently prohibited include recreational boating, catch-and-release fishing. hunting (unless for necessity), golfing, and off-highway vehicle riding. As with horseback riding, these are outdoor activities the department strongly supports. The state's legal experts, however, have determined that these activities do not meet the definition of "necessary" outdoor exercise and they are prohibited under the executive order.

We appreciate that people disagree with this legal determination and are communicating their displeasure and concerns; however, we hope that your readers will recall the long history of the department's support for horseback riding and know that the state will continue to support this valued recreation in the future as soon as the governor's stay at home order will permit."

While we appreciate DNR's continued commitment to horse enthusiasts, we are still unsure of the basis for their position.  Specifically, we are not sure why horseback riding would not be covered under the March 30 stay at home order as an "essential activity" that includes "engaging in outdoor exercise activities..." 

The MHC will continue to work towards getting state lands open to trail riders again.  In this regard, the state of Maryland has begun looking at ways to start re-opening the state, as the numbers affected by the virus in Maryland start to decline. As part of its input into that process, the MHC is specifically looking to have state lands re-opened to trail riding.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Published in News

COVID 19 FBCover10

 UPDATED: APRIL 16, 2020 - NEW RESOURCES 

Link to MHC COVID19/Coronavirus News Releases and Articles

 

 

 

Published in SiteDocs

COVID 19 FBCover10

 

COVID-19 and Your Business - Will It Survive?

Virtual Town Hall For Maryland Horse Businesses & Non-Profit Organizations

presented by

Maryland Horse Council
(OPEN TO 100 RSVPS ONLY!)
 

Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 
Time: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Presentations will be given by speakers from Maryland Small Business Development Center, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, and several legal experts. The Town Hall meeting is free and open to all members of the equestrian community. The meeting will have a maximum capacity of 100 participants; if registration exceeds capacity, preference will be given to registrants who are MHC members. In order for the meeting to be as informative and as effective as possible, so we encourage you, when you register, to submit questions (there will be a place to do so). This way, we can consolidate similar questions for maximum efficiency. 
 

At the end of the session, there will be an opportunity for more audience Q&A, as time allows. 

Confirmed Speakers: 

 
1.Paul Goeringer, UMD, Dept of Ag (USDA programs)
2. Steve McHenry, MARBIDCO - Loan Programs and other Resources
3. J Grier Melick, Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center - financial resources for small businesses.
4. Brooke Schumm, Daneker, McIntire, Schumm et al. -CARES Act and bankruptcy
5. Keith Wills, MAFC - approved lenders for PPP, MAFC resources.

TO RSVP EMAIL CHULL@MDHORSECOUNCIL.ORG WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS. 

PLEASE SUBMIT QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE TO CHULL@MDHORSECOUNCIL.ORG, SO THAT WE CAN GET TO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE! 

We are doing our best to keep you informed and up-to-date regarding any and all general and COVID-19 information pertaining to the Maryland horse community during this time.

If you ARE a member and have not been receiving our communications, please contact Emily at membership@mdhorsecouncil.org. If you ARE NOT a member and would like to join, you can do so online at join.mdhorsecouncil.org, by calling 844-MDHORSE (we will return your call) or emailing membership@mdhorsecouncil.org.

Published in News

COVID 19 FBCover5

 

The Maryland Horse Council has pulled together new and additional resources for our state equine community, business, and particularly our non-profits.

We have provided several business-related resources during the last week. While this article addresses those resources, we have added some non-profit specific information relative to the relief programs. We have so many 501c3 organizations in Maryland helping horses that we wanted you to learn about these resources as they apply to your organization and tax structure.

See below for a breakdown of these programs. Each is bolded to highlight to relief programs available to you.

1.SBA- Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”)

501c3 organizations are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. www.sba.gov/funding-prorgrams/loans/paycheck-protection-program. You must reach out to your bank to start the process. The program extends until June 30th, but you should start this as soon as possible with your bank. It is a first come first serve process. It is not need based and will be funded on an as requested basis. The loan amount cannot exceed $10 million, and it is generally 2.5 times your payroll costs. Eligible salaries will be capped at $100,000 (as paid from February 15th to June 30, 2020). You should include higher salaries, but you will not receive more than $100,000 for each of those salaries.

The PPP is not accepting applications from sole proprietors or independent contractors until April 10th.

The interest rate is currently 1% and will not exceed 4%. It is now a two-year term. There is no prepayment penalty and a there is a six-month deferral before the start of payments. There are no collateral or personal guarantees. The loan may be used for rent, utility, and other mortgage and debt obligations.

There is potential loan forgiveness. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. You apply for 2.5 times payroll costs and what is forgiven ultimately is payroll costs, interest and utilities for eight weeks. You are subject to a possible reduction if you don’t retain the same number of employees as you had prior to the program. Other factors would be reduced pay by more than 25%. If you rehire or increase pay before June 30th, you may be able to avoid this reduction in the amount of forgiveness. SBA provided additional guidance that not more than 25% of the forgiveness can be related to non-payroll costs. 75% must go to payroll.

Application Process:

  1. Simple two-page loan application.
  2. Personal financial statements, IRS form, and schedule of liabilities have not yet been requested. It is possible after initial application.
  3. Calculation of average monthly payroll cost.
  4. Independent contractors do not count in your payroll cost figure. Encourage your contractors to do their own application.

There is a new PPP form as of April 2nd where you can select that you are a non-profit. You can use your board president or signatories to sign the new form.

TIP: Check with your banker for their recommendation.

2.Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

This is a direct application to SBA www.covidrelief.sva.gov/#/. The SBA EIDL Information Link is www.sba.gov/pagr/diaster-loan-applications.

Qualifications & Loan Details

  1. Private nonprofits are eligible. This includes most organizations except religion organizations.
  2. $2 million maximum loan amount.
  3. Term up to 30 years. Waives personal guarantee up to $200,000.
  4. 75% interest rate for non-profits

The SBA is projecting 21 to 31 days to review applications. There are no forgiveness features. It is designed to be a longer-term financing option.

Every applicant can potentially also receive a $10,000 economic injury grant. It is requested during the EIDL loan application process. It may be used for payroll, supply chain disruptions, business obligations, rents, and mortgage purposes. This is a grant and will not need to be repaid.

Thus far we have heard that if you are using the loan and grant money for different purposes you can apply for both. However, if you receive an EIDL grant you most reduce your PPP forgiveness amount, if you have also applied for the PPP.

If you want a grant only, you have to start the loan application process but you don’t necessarily have to accept the loan funds

3.FFCRA – Family First Coronavirus Response Fund

Provides paid leave for employees quarantined, experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Employees can receive up to 80 hours at a regular rate. If they are caring for an individual quarantined or for a person under the age of 18 whose school or child care provider is closed, they may receive up to 80%.

Employees may receive up to an additional 10 weeks at 2/3 the regular rate if they are unable to work due to the need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed. There is an employee longevity requirement here. The employee must have been employed for at least 30 days prior to March 1st. If the employee had been terminated and rehired there are additional provisions.

Part-time employees are entitled to paid leave under this program at their average number of work hours in a two-week period. Paid leave does not have to be taken consecutively. For example: Tuesday and Thursday, etc.; it does not have to sequential.

This program is available for organizations with fewer than 500 employees and does includes non-profits. Organizations with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide paid leave due to school closing or child care unavailability if leave request would jeopardize the viability of the organization as an ongoing concern. [Is this accurate? I pasted it in from a prior version of the document, now that I think I understand better what you were getting at.]

Employers receive 100% Reimbursement for required paid leave. Payments are not subject to Employer Social Security tax and employers can claim credit for Medicare tax. Prorated health insurance costs are also eligible for that credit. Reimbursements to employers are made in the form of dollar-for-dollar offset against Form 941 deposits by submitting streamlined advance Form 7200 to the IRA.

www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs

There are required posters that must be displayed in your workplace as of April 1st. They must also be made available electronically.

  1. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

4. Additional CARES Act Programs

Employee Retention Credits (“ERC”)

Refundable payroll tax credits are available for 50% of qualified wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees. If you are receiving PPP funds, you are not eligible for this credit.

ERC provides incentives to keep employees on payroll even if forced to close or suspend business.

Businesses are eligible for ERC if business was carried on in 2020 and if operations were fully or partially suspended as a result of a COVID-19 government order, or the organization remained open but experienced a greater than 50% reduction in quarterly receipts as compared to the same quarter in 2019. Eligibility is determined by the whole organization’s revenues, so it cannot be based solely on specific events or programs.

ERC applies to wages paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021. The credit for 50% of qualified wages is claimed against the employer’s 6.2% share of social security payroll taxes for each calendar quarter for which the employer is eligible and qualified wages are paid. If the credit exceeds the organization’s liability, employers can retain federal employment taxes including withheld taxes or request an advance of credit from the IRS.

Qualified Wages: For employers who have an average number of full-time employees in 2019 of 100 or fewer, all employee wages are eligible. Qualified wages include “qualified health plan expenses” to the extent the amounts are excluded from gross income of the employees (so not taxable to employees). Qualified wages are capped at $10,000 for each employee for all quarters. This is a cumulative cap and it is applied at 50%, so a maximum of $5,000 credit per employee. This is not available if you have taken the Work Opportunity Credit with respect to the employee, for wages considered for the employer credit for paid family medical leave (IRC Section 45S), or for wages considered for purposed of the payroll credits for required paid leave under FFCRA.

IRS FAQs:

www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-employee-retention-credit-under-the-cares-act

Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes

Allows employers to defer paying the employer’s 6.2% share of social security taxes due from date of enactment of the Act through the end of 2020. Any amounts deferred will be payable 50% by December 21, 2021 and 50% by December 31, 2022. This applies to any remaining amounts due after applying the previously discussed credits. Organizations that received a PPP loan with forgiveness are NOT eligible for this deferral.

Unemployment Resources

Expanded benefits related to COVID-19. If your employees were previously exempt from unemployment, they are now eligible. For organizations that had elected the self-insure method, you will be responsible to cover half of those benefits now and the other half will be covered by federal funds. If you paid in as you normally do, you will not have your experience ratings increase during this period of time of high unemployment.

Short-Term Compensation (STC) Program

If you have employees for whom you have reduced their hours or pay, you can apply as an employer for supplementary funds from unemployment to make their pay whole.

Tax Income Provisions

“The legislation includes a permanent change to tax deductions for charitable donations: If you claim the standard deduction (meaning you don’t itemize your taxes), you can now deduct up to $300 for qualifying charitable donations “above the line,” which means they lower your total taxable income by the amount you’re deducting.

If you do itemize your taxes, the usual limit on deducting charitable cash donations is 60% of your adjusted gross income. This legislation waives that limit for 2020 (although limits on donations of non-cash assets, like stock, still apply). And the limit for corporations is being increased from 10% to 25%.”

Required minimum distributions have been suspended this year. Contributions to Donor Advised Funds are not eligible for the $300 deduction. Also, donations in excess of 60% of adjusted gross income cannot be to Donor Advised Funds. Donations to SPELL OUT QCDs are still available though. A QCDs is a charitable qualified  distribution that allows you to “rollover” up to $100,000 of you required minimum distribution after age 70.5 without incurring ordinary income taxes it must be made directly to the charity from the financial institution.

Tax Deadline for Non-Profits

990 filing still due May 15th

Published in News

COVID 19 FBCover10

 UPDATED: APRIL 16, 2020 - NEW RESOURCES

During the past several months the Maryland Horse council has been continously updating our members and the horse community at large in almost daily articles on the Coronavirus.  In the sections below we ave assembed our latest information and updates.  Click on the section headings to read each section.  

 

Link to all MHC COVID19/Coronavirus News Releases and Articles

 

 

 

Published in News

MHC 35th Logo USE

  FROM THE MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL      MHC logo newfont colors.png LEFT

ESSENTIAL COVID-19 INFORMATION 
FOR MARYLAND'S HORSE COMMUNITY

WHAT THE HORSE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO KNOW

APRIL 2, 2020

 

STAY AT HOME & NEW BUSINESS RESOURCES

On Monday, March 30th, Governor Larry Hogan signed a new executive order instituting a “Stay at Home” directive.

During his press conference, he stated, "No Marylander shall be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or an essential reason such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or for other necessary purposes...essential businesses are directed to scale down operations to reduce the required in-person staff in order to limit in-person interactions and institute telework.”

This new executive order went into effect at 8pm Monday, March 30th. The Governor further stated: “Today’s order states that any person who knowingly or willfully violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not to exceed one year or a fine of $5,000 or both.”

We understand that these are difficult, stressful, and confusing times. The Governor has issued two orders recently that directly affect horse businesses and horse people. The first, issued on 3/23, was directed at businesses, and mandated the closure of non-essential businesses. The second, issued 3/30, was directed at individual citizens and mandated that they stay at home except for essential reasons.

Following the issuance of these orders, there was a lot of discussion about what they mean for horse businesses and horse people. The Horse Council has been in constant communication with the MD Department of Agriculture and its MD Horse Industry Board, to try to interpret what these orders mean. The directions we received so far from MDA in these discussions (and - keep in mind that these are subject to change as the pandemic develops) can be summarized as follows: 1) self-care boarding activities are permitted; 2) in general, when horses are in full-care boarding situations, horse owners should not travel to visit, groom, or ride their horses absent a legitimate reason that their horse’s health or safety cannot be secured by the staff at the boarding facility. Owners of boarding facilities have the discretion to decide that, under the current circumstances, additional help is needed to provide basic care for horses, and they can designate individuals to add as temporary “staff.” They can provide those individuals (as well as their regular staff) with letters certifying their right to travel to those jobs.

For your convenience, we have customized documents originally released by the Maryland Farm Bureau for the Maryland horse industry. Please use the following links to retrieve templates for Essential Farm Workers and Essential Farm Contracters. 

Click here to download the essential farm workers permit

Click here to download the essential farm contractor permit

Barn owners should continue to observe all CDC and WHO guidelines for bio-security, as well as continuing to observe the “social distancing” requirements of the Governor’s 3/23 order (no more than 10 people in a gathering and 6’ separation). Here is a useful legal discussion for barn owners to consider when thinking about their operations: Should I Lock Down my Facility, We recommend that horse farm and business owners check with their lawyers and insurance agents about potential liability for being a source of contagion to or from persons on their property, and also for what coverage they might have for business interruption/loss of income.

Veterinarians and farriers provide essential services, as stated in our Maryland Minimum Standards of Care, and must be allowed to continue to care for horses for both routine and emergency appointments. Banning this type of essential care from your property could be in violation of the Maryland Minimum Standards of Care (routinely consulted by courts) which could be considered abuse or neglect.

We at the Horse Council have been struggling with what these orders have meant for us, personally, and our own horses. We have been buoyed by the remarks of MD Deputy Secretary of Health Fran Phillips, so we share them with you:

“When this crisis is over ― and one day it will be over ― we will look back at this time in our lives as a particularly extraordinary moment. When we look back, we have to be able to say that we did everything we could to save lives,” Phillips said. “We stayed home, we missed school, we missed our friends, all of our normal routines, so we could fight this virus and save lives. We will say we gave up so much for a while in order to save our loved ones, our friends, neighbors and countless others that we will never know.”

In order to provide our Maryland horse community with as much information as possible, we are working on a series of webinars and/or virtual town halls. Please stay tuned as we anticipate announcing the first one in the next week.

With that said, we have compiled additional financial resources for you as many are experiencing significant financial hardships.

First, The Equiery and the Maryland Horse Council want to do what we can to help our community weather these tough times, so we are offering the opportunity to win 1 of 4 free quarter page ads in May issue of The Equiery, with an eblast & social media posts, that you can use to promote and sustain your business. (An $880 value).

To win one of these 4 opportunities, make sure that you or your business page likes & follows The Equiery Facebook page and tell us in the comments how you would use this marketing campaign to promote your business. The winner(s) will be announced at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 6!

Please continue to follow our Equiery/MHC updates as we announce additional support for the horse community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Business Resources Updated March 31st

For a comprehensive list of federal and MD state Corona virus economic resources, see https://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business:

Maryland Department of Commerce: The Department has a number of existing financing programs, like Advantage Maryland, which provides conditional loans for new businesses or business expansions; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority and Fund (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides financial assistance to economically disadvantaged businesses; and the Non-Profit Interest-Free Micro-Bridge Loan Program, which provides loans to nonprofits to support ongoing operating costs while waiting on a future government grant or contract. A total of about $40 million is available through these existing programs.

Governor Hogan’s 3/30 Press Conference & New Funding Announcements: Governor Hogan announced the expansion of a $175 million economic relief package created last week.
Since last week, the state has received more than 1,500 applications to a $7 million COVID-19 Layoff Aversion fund. Hogan added $2 million to the fund on Monday.
So far, the state has paid $8.8 million to more than 400 small businesses to avert 8,000 layoffs, Hogan said.
The state has also received more than 5,300 applications for a $50 million business relief fund, and more than 11,000 applications for new grant funding.
Businesses seeking assistance can learn about the programs at businessexpress.maryland.gov.

Maryland Credit Unions: MD credit unions are offering some flexibility to their members.

https://www.marylandmatters.org/blog/md-credit-unions-focus-on-getting-members-through-this/

A recent membership survey conducted by the MD|DC Credit Union Association shows credit unions are offering immediate relief to consumers struggling to pay bills through loan modifications, fee waivers and other assistance programs:

  • 95% are offering loan modifications such as skip-a-payment, low or no-interest loans, or increased line of credit.
    • 53% are offering new emergency loan products with deferred payments and/or reduced or no interest.
    • 60% are waiving fees or penalties for overdraft, loan applications, ATM, or early withdrawal from CDs.

American Horse Council: Here is an analysis by the American Horse Council of how some of the Federal relief programs apply to horse operations. These are federal provisions only. Maryland has its own programs as do some counties within the state.

https://www.horsecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Tax-Bulletin-March-20202-3-3.pdf

For example, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Loans are facilitated through approved local lenders, including Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit. Check the American Horse Council link above for more info.

Montgomery County Relief Package: Bill 16-20 creates an emergency grant program and provides $20 million in funding for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. The Council also approved an additional $6 million in funding with $5 million going for direct financial assistance to Montgomery County residents and $1 million allocated to support safety net services through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read the full press release here.

The Council staff report and the full text of Bill 16-20, the Covid-19 Economic Relief Act, can be found here.

Information on the supplemental appropriations can be found here.

Prince George’s County will offer up to $15 million in grants and loans to businesses impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Companies may apply for loans of up to $100,000 and grants of up to $10,000. More information can be found here: https://www.pgcedc.com/covid-business-fund-2020

Read the Horse Council’s initial post, dated March 19, 20202, on relief programs and business assistance, “Business Resources for the Horse Community..

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