Resources for Creators of Digital Entertainment Content and Technology in Utah
Updated March 28th 2021
With one-third of 2021 behind us, Utah continues to trend in a positive direction: 1.3 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the state and in a few days more than half-a-million Utahns will have been fully vaccinated. Vaccination is now open to anyone over the age of sixteen, so if you haven't yet signed up for yours, please, as a responsible member of the UDEN community, make it a priority this month. You can find a convenient local location here - https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution and if you still have any concerns or questions, the link also contains a nifty FAQ.
If you are in need of testing, find out details here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations/
Only two of the state's counties are still in the high transmission range, with most having moved down to the moderate range, meaning the 7-day average of people testing positive is between 5 and 10%, the 14-day case rate per 100K people is between 101 and 324, and ICU utilization is between 69 and 72% (with between 6 and 15% specifically COVID related). Find the current state of your county here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utahs-health-guidance-system/#map.
As good as all this news is - and it is - these numbers are still high and with much of the state looking to open up and relax precautions in the coming month, it would be wise for all of us, even those that have been vaccinated, to continue to take precautions -- you know the drill: social distancing, face masks, hand washing. Just because you have been vaccinated doesn't mean you can't catch COVID, it means the risk is significantly reduced for most people.
State guidance is as follows:
- Practice physical distancing and wearing a mask unless you are by yourself or only with members of your same household
- Limit gathering size - the number depends on the transmission range for your county - if high, its 10 people or less; medium its 25 or fewer
- Businesses shall post signage indicating that patrons are expected to wear masks
- Businesses shall require that all employees and contractors wear masks while at work
- Keep at least 6-feet apart from other people, including at home if possible and especially at social gatherings
- Thoroughly wash hands frequently with soap and hot water
- Feeling sick? Stay home. Don't shop. Don't go to work.
- Co-worker has confirmed case? If you were in close proximity of the worker, you need to quarantine immediately at home and get tested yourself
- More specifics at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels/
Thank you for all that you have done to date to play your part! Let's keep it up. Latest news and resources for the state - including latest on directives about re-opening of business - can be found here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.
Latest guidance is to use two masks at a time when around other people, given the continued transmission and new COVID-19 variants. We're not making a political point, we just ask kindly and politely that you wear a mask when you are in proximity to others. Not to deny you of your freedoms, but help your community flatten the spread of this disease by taking this one small measure. It seems likely the disease will be among us for the foreseeable future, and masks - with social distancing and hand-washing - will help us all in this community get back to some sort of normal faster.
If you don't like the idea of looking like you're preparing for surgery, why not have fun with it and find a mask that reflects you? Online you can find masks and kerchiefs that are stylish, funny, colorful, ones with animal faces, flags, beards, films and videogames. Check out some of these ideas - https://www.etsy.com/market/face_mask.
Thank you for playing your part.
COVID-19 Relief Stimulus Bill
The following is a summary of the new funding provided by Congress at the end of 2020 as part of its more than $2 trillion package;
- $900 billion in pandemic relief measures and $1.4 trillion to fund the government through Sept. 30.
- $300 per week federal unemployment supplement
- $284 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans
- $8 billion for Covid-19 vaccine distribution
- Stimulus checks of $600 to individuals who earn up to $75,000 and couples filing jointly who make up to $150,000. The bill adds another $600 for every child.
Of the business relief measures, the following breakdown is courtesy of the Utah Manufacturers Association email dated 12/22/20:
These measures provide additional assistance to the hardest-hit small businesses, nonprofits, and venues that are struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes funding for a second round of forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and nonprofits experiencing significant revenue losses, make programmatic improvements to PPP, fund grants to shuttered venues, and enact emergency enhancements to other SBA lending programs. This critical assistance will provide small business owners with the capital they need to survive the pandemic and includes critical resources for the smallest businesses.
Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans:
- Creates a second round of PPP loans for eligible businesses.
- Defines eligibility for the PPP second draw as small businesses that have no more than 300 employees and demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
- Establishes a maximum loan size of 2.5X average monthly payroll costs, up to $2 million.
- Allows small businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services) to receive PPP second draw loans equal to 3.5X average monthly payroll costs in order to helps these businesses combat onerous State and local restrictions.
- Maintains existing expansions in eligibility for businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services).
- Borrowers receive full loan forgiveness if they spend at least 60 percent of their PPP second draw loan on payroll costs over a time period of their choosing between 8 weeks and 24 weeks.
- Affirms the eligibility of churches and religious organizations and prohibits a future administration from making them ineligible.
- Preserves the application of affiliation rules to nonprofits, which makes Planned Parenthood ineligible.
- Includes set-asides to support first-time PPP borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, second-time PPP borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, first-time PPP borrowers who have been made newly eligible, and second-time returning PPP borrowers. Additionally, provides for a set-aside for loans made by community lenders.
Paycheck Protection Program Improvements:
- Expands PPP allowable and forgivable expenses to include supplier costs on existing contracts and purchase orders, including the cost for perishable goods at any time, costs relating to worker protective equipment and adaptive costs, and technology operations expenditures.
- Provides needed assurances to PPP lenders that no enforcement action could be taken against a lender who originated the loan in good faith, complied with all regulations, and relied in good faith on a borrower’s certification and documentation.
- Enhances borrower flexibility by allowing borrowers to select their loan forgiveness covered period between 8 weeks and 24 weeks.
- Simplifies the forgiveness application process for smaller loans up to $150,000 while increasing SBA’s ability to audit and review forgiven loans.
- Allows PPP borrowers to include additional group insurance payments when calculating their PPP payroll costs. This would cover insurance plans such as vision, dental, disability and life insurance.
- Allows borrowers who returned all or part of their PPP loan to reapply for the maximum amount applicable. It also allows lenders to recalculate borrower’s loan amounts due to changes in regulations regardless of whether SBA Form 1502 has been submitted.
- Establishes the loan amount calculation for farmers and ranchers to better align with recent years’ income.
- Provides Farm Credit System Institutions with greater certainty and equity in PPP lending participation.
- Defines “seasonal employer.”
- Expands PPP eligibility for certain 501(c)(6) nonprofits and Destination Marketing Organizations with 300 or fewer employees that do not receive more than 15 percent of their revenue from lobbying.
- Expands PPP eligibility to local newspapers and T.V., and radio stations previously made ineligible by their affiliation with other stations.
- Establishes a procedure in the bankruptcy process if the Administrator determines certain small business debtors in Chapter 11 are eligible for PPP loans.
- Eliminates the requirement that EIDL advances be subtracted from PPP forgiveness.
Emergency Enhancements to SBA’s Lending Programs
- Temporarily enhances the terms of the 7(a) loan program by increasing the loan guarantee to 90 percent and offering reduced or no fees for the borrower and the lender. Additionally, it would temporarily increase the 7(a) express loan limit and loan guarantee to provide access to needed working capital.
- Temporarily eliminates fees for the 504 loan program and favorable terms for refinancing loans.
- Increases the aggregate loan limit for microloan intermediaries in order to ensure intermediaries have increased capacity to make loans to underserved and underbanked borrowers.
- Extends the Small Business Debt Relief program, Section 1112 of the CARES Act, which would defer payments of principal and interest on new and existing SBA 7(a), 504, and Microloan programs for eligible entities.
Support for Venues:
- Establishes a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos that have experienced significant revenue losses.
- Provides enhanced verification and requires increased transparency of SBA’s oversight plans to ensure funds are directly benefiting eligible entities.
Increased Appropriations: $325 billion
- $284.45 billion for Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans.
- $25 million for Minority Business Development Centers under the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to assist minority business enterprises with technical assistance, such as applying for PPP.
- $50 million to SBA for PPP auditing and fraud mitigation purposes.
- $15 billion for grants for shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos.
- $20 billion for the EIDL Advance program, of which $20 million is for the SBA Inspector General.
- $3.5 billion for continuing the Section 7(a) Debt Relief program.
- $2 billion to carry out SBA lending enhancements.
- Of this amount, $57 million for the Microloan program for technical assistance and direct lending to underserved borrowers.
Getting Through This Together
Our thanks to everyone in our community for rallying and supporting in whatever way you have been able!
We are living through a remarkable moment of history, one that, rarely, affects most of the global populous at the same time. It is worrying, but, this too shall pass and at some point we will get back to something approaching the normality we knew a few short months ago!
If there is anything that team UDEN can do to help you through this crisis, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Below are a handful of links* that we hope members of our community will find helpful during this time of crisis. If you have others that you have found to be useful, please add them as a comment, below, or post them on the UDEN blogs here.
Struggling to pay rent? The Utah Housing Assistance Program can help renters who are unable to pay their rent and utilities due to circumstances related to COVID-19. Here: https://rentrelief.utah.gov/
You may be eligible to file for unemployment in a number of circumstances arising from the Coronavirus pandemic, such as:
- your are furloughed from work but expect to return to your job at some point in the future;
- you are self-quarantined without pay but expect to return to work;
- you are still working but hours have been reduced;
- your employer let you go as they reduce the workforce;
More details from Utah Workforce Services here: https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/uifaqemployees.pdf
Utah Film Commission - local film and TV resources - https://film.utah.gov/blog/covid19-resources/
IGDA - videogame developer resources - https://igda.org/resources/covid-19-resources/
How to transition from working from home to being a remote studio - http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-30-how-to-become-a-remote-games-studio
If you want to connect with local people that are in your industry - THINK LOCAL. Check out the Upcoming Events page on the UDEN website and support your fellow industry workers. If you are hosting an event - yes! Even a virtual one - that might be of interest to UDEN members, post it on the upcoming events page - it’s free!
If you are looking for a skilled contractor, whether that be a programmer, artist, producer, VFX editor, sound composer, or anything - HIRE LOCAL. Look at the UDEN Resources Directory of digital entertainment creators in Utah and see if you can find what you need there. It's organized by category to make it easier to find what you are looking for. If you are looking for new clients, make sure to add yourself to this UDEN resources directory. It’s free!
You can make a difference. Together we make the difference.
If you are an employer looking for temporary workers with skills that our highly creative and technical UDEN community posses, please post them on the UDEN jobs board, here. Please mark them "Short Term".
It follows that if you have lost a job, or are furloughed and would like temporary work, please check the UDEN jobs board to see who may be posting, here.
Working from home
Our sector possibly has a higher proportion of people working from home than others given that so many are contractors or work for small businesses. Nevertheless, here are a couple of articles about successfully working from home and why it might become the new 'norm' for more people:
How do I use videoconferencing for keeping in touch with family on my tablet or phone? https://www.cnet.com/news/10-free-video-chat-apps-to-use-if-youre-social-distancing/
Using Skype - https://www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Video-Conference-in-Skype
Tips on managing a meeting via videoconferencing - https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/technology/personaltech/online-video-meetings-etiquette-virus.html and https://www.forbes.com/sites/adriandearnell/2020/03/23/coronavirus-how-to-succeed-at-video-conferencing/#62e4efdc60b5
Testing in Utah - People can qualify for testing if they exhibit just one possible symptom of COVID-19, whether cough, fever or shortness of breath, including people who don't have insurance, details here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations/
Here are a couple of links that I found useful for physical and mental health:
Children and Coronavirus
Cornonavirus news and resources
COVID-19 Case Count in Utah - https://coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/
University of Utah Healthcare - https://healthcare.utah.edu/coronavirus/
Intermountain Healthcare - https://intermountainhealthcare.org/covid19-coronavirus/
Domo - Status State by State - https://www.domo.com/covid19/geographics#compare-states
How you can help
Silicon Slopes - donate money, volunteer, give supplies, stay informed - https://www.slopesserves.com/
Donate personal protective equipment -
United Ways Response Fund - https://uw.org/covid19-community-fund/
Ty Burrell Downtown Food Service Workers Fund - https://downtownslc.org/TipYourServer
Support local business from your home: https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/how-you-can-help-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid19/
Until we meet again -- please be safe, stay 6-feet apart, wash your hands, wear a mask, think about others, help others; together we'll get through this and all enjoy the bright tomorrow.
If you want to find out more about UDEN and our mission, see here.
-- THE VOLUNTEERS AT TEAM UDEN
* All links worked at time of publishing. In this fast changing situation these links may have changed. We apologize if you find any broken links or incorrect information. Please let us know. Thank you! **