Coronavirus Impact Updates

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Schools to Open

Coronavirus

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) surprised everyone recently with guidance urging that all decisions for school this coming year “start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” The guidance recognized concerns about COVID-19, but cited “mounting evidence” that children and adolescents are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe problems from the virus. It also noted that “children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection.” The AAP urges policymakers to balance mitigation efforts with “the known harms to children, adolescents, families, and the community by keeping children at home.”

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Reopening Schools, Fall 2020

Coronavirus

Both the state of Georgia and the CDC have released guidance to help school authorities “determine their plans and strategies for reopening schools” in the fall, whatever of the status of the pandemic.  While neither document is binding, they will be important in establishing the standard of care for both independent and public schools.  The guidelines focus on the ability to open buildings and allow students to move freely, based on the degree of potential community spread. 

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Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act

Coronavirus

On June 26, 2020, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act as one of the final bills to pass out of the legislature on the last day of the 2020 Legislative Session. The Act was written and considered in response to concerns of small businesses throughout Georgia concerning potential legal liability for COVID-19 claims against owners as the economy re-opens in Georgia. While this law has not yet been signed by the Governor, it is expected to be signed. The following is a summary of the highlights of the Act.

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Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Due to Closure or Partial Closure of Summer Camps, Summer Enrichment Programs or Other Summer Programs

Coronavirus

On June 26, 2020, the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) regarding the circumstances that closure of summer camps, summer enrichment programs, or other summer programs qualifies an employee for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). A FAB provides guidance to the Wage and Hour Division investigators and staff on enforcement positions and clarification of policies or changes in policy. While not law, employers are still encouraged to follow the FAB as it will be used by the investigators to determine if there has been a violation of the FFCRA.

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An Anticipated Coronavirus Vaccine: How will Georgia Schools & Daycare Handle Vaccination Exemptions?

Coronavirus

In anticipation of a vaccine for the COVID-19 this fall, it is a good time to revisit the vaccinations requirements in your State and determine if your institution/business will be obligated to require COVID-19 vaccination of your daycare or student population and/or possibly your staff/employees.  In review of Georgia law, vaccinations are required for all children entering school or attending a daycare center.  Georgia law allows two exceptions to vaccinations—medical necessity and religious objections.  In Georgia the laws allow private schools and daycare centers to accept the medical and/or religious exemptions, but do not require them to do so.  Additionally, with the infection rate of COVID-19 and the World pandemic of the virus, in Georgia protection of public safety is a legal reason for both public and private schools and daycare centers not to recognize such exemptions.

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Child Care Providers: Surviving the Summer with or without a PPP Loan

Coronavirus

Providers of childcare services are undoubtedly still trying to navigate the current COVID-19 climate. While many childcare providers experienced some degree of shutdown from March through May of this year, others have remained open – in part – due to the need of parents and guardians who have continued working outside of the home. Now that states are reopening at varying speeds, childcare providers are making decisions about whether and at what level to operate this summer. This article seeks to provide guidance for childcare providers on two questions that may be keeping them up at night.

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Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act

Coronavirus

On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act which was previously approved by the House of Representatives on May 28, 2020.  The Flexibility Act was written and considered in response to concerns raised by Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan borrowers.  While this law has not yet been approved by the President, it is expected to be signed without change.  Once signed by the President, we anticipate the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury will issue guidance pertaining to the Flexibility Act, including a new form forgiveness application.  The following is a summary of the highlights of the Flexibility Act and resulting changes to the PPP provisions of the CARES Act.

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Tax Deductions for COVID-19 Losses

Coronavirus

The COVID-19 disaster has caused significant financial losses for many businesses and their owners. Whether a business is owned by a sole proprietor, or by a Limited Liability Company, Partnership, or S Corporation treated as pass-through entity for income tax purposes, or by an entity taxable as a C Corporation, there are opportunities for the business and/or its owner(s) to use current year business and investment losses to obtain refunds of taxes paid in prior years.

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Updated Guidelines for Georgia Childcare and Camping Programs

Coronavirus

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has issued two executive orders governing Georgia childcare and camping programs, dated May 21, 2020 and May 28, 2020. Together, the two orders extend the new rules through June 15, 2020, allow more children and staff in groups, and allow overnight camps beginning May 31. The highlights of the new rules are:

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Payroll Protection Program Loan Audit Considerations and Guidance

Coronavirus

On May 22, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of Treasury, issued an interim final rule on review procedures and related borrower and lender responsibilities with respect to Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans. This interim final rule provides information to borrowers who have received a PPP loan as to what to expect in the SBA’s review of an individual PPP loan and/or audit of a PPP loan. Additionally, the interim rule expressly states the SBA may review any size PPP loan issued under the PPP loan program at any time (and noting that borrowers must retain PPP documentation for six (6) years after the date the loan is forgiven or repaid in full) and provides information as to what the SBA may review.

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