As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, non essential businesses have been ordered shut down until May 4. Governor Cuomo on Thursday extended New York's shut down until May 15. It is undetermined at this point if Massachusetts will follow suit.

While other businesses decided to, or simply had to layoff or furlough employees, Bedard Brothers in Cheshire opted to go in another direction. Below is an email that was sent to the Bedard employees in late March.

"To all members of the Bedard Bros Auto Sales Family,

As you are all aware, Governor Baker recently extended the Massachusetts non-essential business closure until May 4th. This news is very disappointing, but of course not at all surprising given the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bedard Bros remains committed to serving our community and we will be fully open for business as early as we can. Let’s all hope that it is May 4th!

While the nationwide and worldwide situation is concerning and extremely humbling, we hold as our utmost concern the well-being of our own families and the families of each and every one of our employees. To this end, on March 25th we committed to our employees that we would keep everyone at Bedard Bros employed and provided with their base payroll for the 2 weeks ( 10 days paid time off) until the original April 7th closure end date. Many of you have reached out in appreciation. You are welcome, and we’d also like to thank all of you for working with us during this time.

So of course with the closure now extended till May 4th, the question becomes what happens now?

During the past several weeks the federal government has developed multiple pieces of legislation aimed at tackling the broader economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. In recent days clarity has begun to emerge and as a dealership Bedard Bros has chosen the path that we feel is undoubtedly the best option for our business and our employees. Which is the following:

We have applied for and received the federal government’s Small Business “Paycheck Protection Program” Loan. What this means to you as an employee, is that for the 8 weeks of the loan program, will receive a weekly paycheck that is equivalent to 100% of your average weekly 2019 earnings. Simply take your total earnings from 2019, divide by 52, and that’s the amount you will be paid for each of the 8 weeks that this payroll loan program is in effect. If you were not here the entirety of 2019, then your pay will be equal to your average weekly pay since your employment start date. To be clear, this is not “base payroll”, this is full 100% payroll. Loan regulations do cap the maximum weekly pay allowance for anyone with 2019 earnings greater than $100,000. The payroll program will apply to all employees for the 8 weeks of the loan program. It also applies regardless of the open/close status of your department. We intend to begin this on the pay week beginning April 9th, with the first check issued April 17th. We do trust that with the eventual full re-opening of our store that all of our employees will “come to work to work” and help put us all back on our feet and back to normal.

We have chosen to go this route because we feel it is the absolute best option for our employees and our business. We remain committed to doing everything we can to assist our employees during this time, and we trust that all of you will be equally committed to making our entire dealership a success going forward. We will need each and every one of you and your full efforts to help us bring our dealership back to full strength.

We of course anticipate that there will be questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

Thank you again,

The Bedard Family"

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