By Zubin Khambatta, David Robbins, and Stephanie Saladino

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced two new targeted distributions from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (the Provider Relief Fund) to assist in the response to the medical and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • $15 billion to Medicaid and CHIP providers that have not yet received a payment under the Provider Relief Fund General Distribution.
  • $10 billion to safety net hospitals.

This funding is a result of the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which together allocated $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers, including those disproportionately affected by this pandemic. Read more here.

On this episode, we are joined by Deborah White, president of the Retail Litigation Center (RLC) and senior executive vice president and general counsel of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). Deborah provides insight and analysis regarding the retail industry’s varied and innovative response to the pandemic, including how large retailers deal with the patchwork of evolving state and local regulations and how they are innovating at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand while maintaining safety for employees, suppliers, and customers. Not surprisingly, we also talk about masks, how we all got our start in retail, and a little … insurance. Listen Here. 

On June 18, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order manding that people in California wear face coverings in “high-risk” situations. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a guidance document that updates existing guidance regarding the use of cloth face coverings by the public when outside the home. Under the new mandate, individuals in California must wear face coverings in the following “high-risk” situations, as provided in the updated CDPH guidance: Continue Reading California Mandates Masks as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

On June 17, 2020, Governor Ducey announced an enhanced COVID-19 Action Plan that includes an executive order providing that the Arizona Department of Health Services shall implement a system for contact tracing. The order also provides that a county, city, or town may, based on conditions in its jurisdiction, adopt policies regarding the wearing of face coverings in public for the purpose of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Continue Reading Arizona Issues Further Plan re COVID-19, Including Requirements for Businesses to Address Face Coverings and Symptom Screenings

By Seth Locke, Alexander Canizares, Paul Korol

Defense contractors’ costs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis are projected to be in the “lower end” of the “double-digit of billions of dollars,” according to Ellen Lord, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, who testified before Congress on June 10, 2020.

Ms. Lord told the House Armed Services Committee that COVID-19–related costs facing the defense industrial base include paid leave costs as well as costs related to stop work orders, purchases of personal protective equipment, cleaning and sterilization, and scheduling delays.

Ms. Lord said that, without additional appropriations from Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD) will likely be unable to meet the costs of reimbursing contractors for paid leave under section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Continue Reading COVID-19 Will Cost Defense Industry “Double-Digit” Billions, DoD’s Ellen Lord Says

By KoKo Huang and Asasia Pierce

There are indications that President Donald Trump may expand his April 22, 2020, proclamation, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the United States. The expansion could temporarily bar individuals outside of the United States seeking to enter pursuant to H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 visas, among other nonimmigrant visa categories. Similar to prior immigration restrictions related to COVID-19, there could be some exceptions, including for healthcare workers and those involved in the food supply chain.

We are continuing to monitor developments with respect to this issue and will release an update when we learn more. We encourage employers to consider proactively bringing employees who are abroad on valid nonimmigrant visas back to the United States, as this restriction could come become effective very quickly after announcement. Please contact us with any questions on how this might affect your employees.

By Andy Smetana and Teri Lindquist

In response to the recent enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (the PPPFA), on June 11, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released an interim final rule (interim final rule #17) adopting changes to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan terms mandated by the PPPFA. In doing so, the SBA modified the SBA’s initial interim final rule to provide clarifications for PPP borrowers. Also on June 11, the SBA released a new form of PPP loan application that incorporates changes specified in the PPPFA and interim final rule #17.

For those who have been closely watching developments with respect to PPP loans, these materials provide little in the way of new information but do include a couple of clarifications that borrowers may find helpful—specifically providing that the new “60% Rule” for loan use and forgiveness results in proportionate reductions to loan forgiveness, and not a “cliff” (i.e., a barrier to any loan forgiveness). The clarification keeps hope alive that interest on PPP loans may be subject to forgiveness.

Continue Reading SBA Issues Updated PPP Guidance and a New PPP Loan Application Form

As countries around the world overcome the first wave of coronavirus infections, one thing is becoming apparent: Remote working will almost certainly become a permanent fixture of modern life for many. Going forward, governments and companies may periodically require or encourage employees to work from home. And even when they do not, both employees and employers are more comfortable with work-from-home arrangements than ever before.

Continue Reading Maintaining an Effective Compliance Program When Working Remotely

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Last week, the FTC sent another 50 warning letters related to COVID-19 advertising claims, adding to the growing list of FTC warnings and actions intended to address false and deceptive marketing during the pandemic. The latest round of letters targets companies advertising their products and services as effective in preventing or treating COVID-19 without adequate scientific support, including acupuncture, intravenous (IV) therapies, ozone therapy, stem cell treatments, sound frequencies, air-purifiers, and immune-defense supplements.

Click here to read the full blog post on Consumer Protection Review.