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New COVID-19 Relief is Here

Last Updated: December 22, 2020

 

Dear Member of the Yoga Community,

Congress passed a new COVID-19 relief package that includes a renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program, enhanced unemployment insurance compensation, and an additional economic impact payment for individuals, among other provisions.

Here are some additional details about the bill that was signed.

  • Extends the CARES Act unemployment insurance programs, including: 
    • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that provides unemployment benefits to self-employed workers;
    • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program which provides additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits;
    • Increasing the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through regular state unemployment plus the PEUC or PUA program to 50 weeks;
    • Providing an additional $300 per week federal benefit, supplemental to traditional unemployment insurance amounts, through March 14, 2021; and
    • Providing an additional $100 per week federal benefit for certain workers who have both wage and self-employment income, but whose base unemployment benefit calculation does not take their self-employment into account.
  • Reauthorizes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, like most yoga studios and yoga teacher training programs, that are suffering from pandemic-related impacts.
  • Distributes another economic impact payment in the amount of $600 per individual and per child dependent directly to individuals and their families.

To be sure, this bill’s financial assistance provisions for businesses and individuals were not as robust as those in the CARES Act. Standing alone, this relief falls short of our community's and our country’s needs during the pandemic. In particular, the bill also does not contain targeted relief for businesses in the health and wellness industries, even as it does provide such relief for businesses in the live events, transportation, and other industries that, like yoga, were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Nevertheless, given the political dynamics in Washington, we are pleased that this legislation embraces the key priorities for which our community has been advocating. We are optimistic that, with further advocacy from our community and others, this legislation will represent a “down payment” on future COVID relief legislation. We are hopeful that the new presidential administration will consider new relief to meet the moments and needs of those struggling as a result of this pandemic. Yoga Alliance plans to remain an active participant in these efforts.

 

Over the past several months, thousands of you advocated for our community by emailing your members of Congress through our automated Congressional appeal. Together, we let elected officials know how the yoga industry—primarily small, independent businesses—has been disproportionately devastated by the COVID-19 crisis and that ongoing relief is vital for those in our community who need it. Your efforts are appreciated and valued. Yoga Alliance President and CEO Shannon Roche also sent a letter directly to the bipartisan Congressional leadership, urging them to renew COVID-19 relief for unemployed individuals and struggling small businesses. Our actions, along with the efforts of many others whose livelihoods are impacted by the relief, have made a difference.

 

Reach out to us with feedback, questions, or concerns at 1-888-921-9642 (YOGA) or yaadvocacy@yogaalliance.org. Thank you for the work that you do for your communities—always, and especially in these difficult times. And, please be sure to visit our YourYA.org resource site for other ways to help improve your work and lives.

 

Your Yoga Alliance

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