Weekly Digest – 23 December 2020
Because we know you’re busy, we’re keeping this issue extra short.
Just in time for Christmas, Jupiter and Saturn appear in close alignment this week, forming what some have called a ‘Christmas Star.’ The last time this happened was in the spring of 1226, when Notre Dame cathedral was under construction. Their closest connection will be on the Winter’s Solstice, when they will look like a double planet. To see them, look towards the southwest horizon, just after sunset. They will be bright enough to see in twilight but will be harder to see as they drop closer to the horizon, finally setting around 6:45.
A look back at 2020 in charts
Everyone will agree that 2020 was a year unlike any other. This article from Vox includes 20 charts that illustrate exactly how unlike any other year 2020 has been. Here are some of the highlights from those charts: The U.S. continues to lead the world in COVID-19 cases. More dogs and cats were adopted from shelters. The COVID-19 vaccine was developed in record time, especially compared to diseases like Ebola and chickenpox. Unemployment reached its highest level in generations. Greenhouse gases dropped significantly.
We send you our best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season, and we look forward to working with you in the New Year!
CARES ACT UPDATES
Another stimulus bill – Finally!
Over the weekend, Congress finally reached an agreement that will be voted on Monday, December 21. Details are not clear, but according to a release Sunday night from Senate and House leaders, here are the key provisions:
- Direct payment checks of up to $600 per adult and child
- Another round of more than $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans
- $15 billion to help live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions
- $300 per week for enhanced unemployment insurance benefits
- $25 billion for rental assistance and an extension of the moratorium on evictions
- $82 billion for education providers like schools and colleges, including aid to help reopen classrooms safely
- $10 billion to help with childcare assistance
- $13 billion in increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and child nutrition benefits
- $7 billion to bolster broadband access to help Americans connect remotely during the pandemic
- Funding totaling in the billions of dollars to support coronavirus vaccine distribution, testing and contract tracing efforts and health care workers
- A tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave
Stimulus payments are not expected to be sent out until sometime early in 2021. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged support for further financial support to small businesses and individuals when he takes office in January.
- Payroll, HR and benefits company Gusto has put together An Employer’s Guide to Navigating the Coronavirus
- Accounting Today has a special page for articles on COVID-19
- The best source for up-to-date and accurate health information is the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- The CDC also has recommendations for businesses and employers
- Intuit QuickBooks has a dedicated page to help small businesses
- The Red Cross has pointers to help young adults stay safe
- Entrepreneur put together a listing of free tech resources for remote work
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warnings about COVID-related scams
- Fast Company has a listing of the best productivity apps for 2020
- The New York Times has an online newsletter on K-12 and higher education
- The Wall Street Journal has a collection of articles on education
- The Atlantic has a state-by-state coronavirus tracker
We sincerely hope that you and your family are well and remain well. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together!