Coronavirus Impact Updates

Showing 66 posts from 2020.

Northern District Court of Georgia: Insurer Not Obligated to Cover COVID-19 Loses

Coronavirus

On October 6, 2020, Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., Chief Judge for the Northern District Court of Georgia, held that an insurer was not obligated to cover losses two Georgia eateries sustained when they shuttered their dining rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Thrash’s opinion is the first of its kind from any court in Georgia.

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SBA Releases Interim Final Rule for PPP Loans of $50,000 or less

Posted In Coronavirus

Coronavirus

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released an Interim Rule that primarily affects sole proprietors.

There are approximately 3.57 million outstanding PPP loans of $50,000 or less, totaling approximately $62 billion of the $525 billion in PPP loans. Approximately 1.71 million PPP loans of $50,000 or less were made to businesses that reported having zero employees (presumably not counting the owner as an employee) or one employee.

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President Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Order

Posted In Coronavirus

Coronavirus

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum and Executive Order whereby the President directed the Secretary of the Treasury to allow for the deferral of the employee-portion of payroll taxes withheld under IRC Section 3101(a) (6.2% for Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) on wages earned during the period of September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 (“Deferral Order”).

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PPP Loans and Changes of Ownership: Considerations for M&A Transactions

Coronavirus

On October 2, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a Procedural Notice to provide information concerning required procedures for a “change in ownership” of an entity that has received a paycheck protection program (PPP) loan.  Prior to issuance of this Procedural Notice, the SBA regulations that govern PPP loans did not expressly address asset acquisitions/sales or even provide a detailed definition of “change of ownership” for borrowers.  Further, while most PPP loan documents required the PPP lender to consent prior to a “change of ownership,” the term “change in ownership” was not defined.  This lack of guidance and undefined language in the PPP loan documents left PPP borrowers who wanted to accomplish an asset acquisition/sale, sale of common stock or ownership or merger at risk of defaulting on their PPP loan covenants, which would require immediate repayment of their PPP loan.

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CDC Order to Temporarily Halt Residential Evictions Nationwide

Posted In Coronavirus

Coronavirus

On August 8, 2020, President Trump directed his administration to prevent residential evictions and foreclosures resulting from financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, his Executive Order (EO) states that the administration will take all legal measures needed to prevent this activity. In order to prevent the further spread of the virus, the EO tasks the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider measures to temporarily prohibit residential evictions for failure to pay rent due to COVID-19 hardships.

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State Powers to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination and Employee Vaccination Considerations for Employers

Posted In Coronavirus

Coronavirus

In 1955, Canada used an 18-month polio vaccine trial period to set up a compulsory vaccination program. Facing the same health crisis and given the same time period, the U.S. Federal government chose a limited role in engaging State governments to prepare for and distribute the vaccine. Many claimed the U.S. Federal government’s failure to work with the States to prepare and lead in the 1950s led to distribution problems of the polio vaccine, with many poor communities being overlooked for more than a decade.

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Governor Kemp Signs Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act

Coronavirus

On August 5, 2020, Governor Kemp signed into law the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act. This was 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 regarding potential legal liability for COVID-19 claims against owners as the economy re-opens in Georgia. The law applies to any COVID-19 claim arising on or after August 5, 2020. For a summary of the highlights of the Act, please read our July 1, law alert, “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act,” here.

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COVID-19 Vaccination and State School/Childcare Vaccination Laws

Coronavirus

Mandatory vaccination laws were first enacted in the early 19th century, beginning with Massachusetts’ smallpox vaccination law in 1809. Generally, courts have ruled that the policing power of States absolutely includes reasonable regulations, such as vaccinations laws, established by State legislatures to protect public health and safety. State vaccination laws are mostly applied to children for school or childcare enrollment or employees of certain health care facilities. With this in mind and in anticipation of a vaccine for COVID-19, many wonder if children and healthcare employees will be the first population sectors in which States will require compulsory vaccination under existing laws. If that is the case, many schools, childcare facilities, parents and community leaders may question if it is a “reasonable regulation” to vaccinate a population sector least affected by COVID-19, being children, to protect the public health and safety of all.

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What to Do When Your Employee Refuses to Return to Work Amid COVID-19?

Coronavirus

The United States is now approximately four months out from when states and localities began to shelter-in-place due to the serious health concerns of COVID-19. Many employers initially scrambled to determine whether to furlough or terminate their employees, while others implemented work-from-home policies and procedures. Although most states have moved into phases two or three of reopening, the ever-growing number of positive COVID-19 cases presents ongoing hurdles for employers seeking to bring employees back into the workplace. So what happens if your employee refuses to return to work? 

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Business Waits for No One, Certainly Not Negative Tests: New CDC Guideline Obviate the Need for Retesting

Coronavirus

Based on previous guidelines and advice, many business owners are telling employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, to not return to work until they test negative. Sometimes, this means waiting weeks and even months. There are numerous reasons contributing to the problem. First, some patients test positive for weeks after full recovery and no longer being contagious. Second, scheduling a test is getting harder and results are taking longer and longer. Third, the tests being used are still unreliable, with the "quick" ones having the highest rates of false positives and false negatives. In the meantime, businesses are seeing an uptick in business, but cannot fulfill orders or client needs because they have no workers. Some have even had to shut down. It is very surprising, then, that the CDC's new guideline saying a negative test is not necessary has flown under the radar.

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