WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), announced the introduction of their Filtering and Retrofitting the Environment for Safe and Healthy Activities Indoors and Revenue (FRESH AIR) for Businesses Act (S. 5067), a bipartisan bill that would provide a tax credit to businesses and nonprofit organizations that purchase or upgrade their air ventilation, filtration, and purification systems to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne diseases.

“As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, one of my top priorities is to help Nevada’s small businesses manage and overcome disruptions and dangers caused by COVID-19. That is why I am proud to introduce this important bipartisan legislation to provide our businesses with a tax credit to upgrade their air ventilation, filtration, and purification systems. By making our indoor spaces safer for customers and workers, we can reduce the spread of COVID, help boost consumer confidence, and keep businesses afloat,” said Senator Rosen. “I will continue working in Congress to provide Nevada businesses and entrepreneurs the support they need to not only succeed, but thrive.”

“More businesses are going to permanently close if customers don’t feel safe going to them, but there are changes they can make to restore consumer confidence and protect their workers and customers,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bill extends businesses and nonprofits a helping hand, allowing them to make upgrades to their facilities that help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

“We appreciate the boost that Senator Rosen and Senator Cramer's FRESH AIR for Business Act would give, especially to the small restaurants across the country who are struggling to stay open,” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurants across the country continue to make improvements to their ventilation systems to ensure the safety of their employees, patrons and other staff, but for many, the cost of these upgrades has been overwhelming. This bill will help make that easier by offsetting some of the costs of those improvements.”

“As the pandemic drags on, locally-owned franchise businesses and their hard-working employees are struggling to make ends meet. Helping these small businesses navigate this difficult time is paramount for helping protect the health, not only for workers and customers but also for our economy,” said Suzanne Beall, Vice President of Government Relations and Counsel, of the International Franchise Association. “IFA supports and applauds Senators Rosen and Cramer for the introduction of this much-needed piece of legislation that will help America’s local franchise businesses during a challenging time.”

“Small businesses have been hit particularly hard as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which is why we must do more to ensure these companies get the targeted resources they need to recover and thrive,” said John Stanford, Co-Executive Director of Small Business Roundtable. “Boosting consumer confidence through air filtration and ventilation efforts is one of the best tools available to address the barriers these businesses face as a result of this airborne virus. We are thrilled to support this new and innovative bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Senators Rosen and Cramer to help as many businesses, families, and industries as possible endure the financial hardships caused by the pandemic.”

“The Vegas Chamber appreciates the efforts of Senator Rosen to help Southern Nevada employers create a healthier environment, especially during the COVID pandemic,” said Mary Beth Sewald, President & CEO of the Vegas Chamber. “We support Senator Rosen in introducing this legislation which would provide a refundable tax credit for the purchase or upgrade of ventilation systems.”

“With consumer confidence being at an all-time low due to concerns of indoor air quality, we must do everything in our power to help small businesses overcome the unprecedented obstacles caused by COVID-19,” said Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud the introduction of this forward-thinking legislation by Senator Rosen and urge Congress for swift passage so we can bring relief to our small business community.”

“Now more than ever, the business community needs all the help it can get and this bill not only offers tax credits, but tax credits while also promoting a safer workplace for employees. This is the kind of win-win help that is easy to endorse. We applaud Senator Rosen for the introduction of this legislation and look forward to continuing to work with her for the benefit of our small business community,” said Peter Guzman, President of the Latin Chamber of Commerce.  

“Nevada’s small businesses have been significantly disrupted due to COVID-19,” said Ken Evans, President of the Urban Chamber of Commerce. “By providing small businesses with a tax credit to upgrade their air filtration systems, owners and employees can assure consumers that it is safe to frequent their place of business. We are happy to endorse Senator Rosen’s legislation and look forward to working with her to address our community’s needs.”

“During this unprecedented crisis, the Asian Chamber has been working tirelessly to help companies and businesses stay afloat and keep paychecks flowing to workers and families,” said Sonny Vinuya, President of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce. “But we can’t do it alone. We need Congress to help businesses respond to the hardships posed by this airborne disease and boost consumer confidence. That is why we are proud to endorse Senator Rosen and Senator Cramer’s bipartisan FRESH AIR for Businesses Act and look forward to continuing to work with them to support our businesses, advance economic growth, and protect jobs.”

BACKGROUND: This bipartisan legislation is endorsed by the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association, Small Business Roundtable, the Vegas Chamber, the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Urban Chamber of Commerce, and the Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada, Inc., and the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce

The bipartisan Filtering and Retrofitting the Environment for Safe and Healthy Activities Indoors and Revenue (FRESH AIR) for Businesses Act introduced by Senators Rosen (D-NV) and Cramer (R-ND) would provide a refundable tax credit to businesses and nonprofit organizations that purchase or upgrade their air ventilation, filtration, or purification systems to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne diseases.

Specifically, the FRESH AIR for Businesses Act would:

  • Provide businesses with a refundable payroll tax credit of up to $15,000 per location to cover 50 percent of qualified HVAC purchase, installation, or upgrade expenses incurred between February 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022.
  • Cover half the cost of:
    • Purchasing, installing, or upgrading HVAC systems designed to filter air at a rate of MERV 13 or higher, which use UV-base purification, or which provide fresh air supply of at least 17 cubic feet per minute per occupant and have the ability to direct air to minimize air exchange between neighboring zones;
    • Purchasing standalone air cleaners and purifiers capable of providing at least 5 air changes per hour and using HEPA filters, UV-based purification, or EAC or ionization technology; and
    • Purchasing related components such as HEPA filters and UV lights.
  • Direct the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control to jointly establish a voluntary certification to ensure systems meet high standards, reward businesses that create safe indoor environments for consumers and workers, and increase consumer confidence in returning to local businesses.

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