July 13, 2020
As summer kicks into high gear, and the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 30th anniversary looms large at the end of this month, businesses in many jurisdictions are in the process of gradually reopening to the public.
And if the long and difficult spring wasn’t trying enough, businesses now face yet another challenge — balancing maintaining the safety of employees and patrons against complying with Title III of the ADA, and applicable state and local laws, which can significantly vary depending on the jurisdiction.
July 7, 2020
On June 7, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Sector Rules that Connecticut businesses must follow in order to open during Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan.
Phase 2 (which began on June 17, 2020) includes the following sectors:
- Amusement parks
- Restaurants (indoor)
- Museums, zoos and aquariums
- Indoor recreation (e.g. bowling, movie theaters etc.)
- Outdoor events
- Personal services (e.g. nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc.)
- Sports and fitness facilities (e.g. gyms, fitness centers, pools, etc.)
- Film, television and digital media production
June 30, 2020
On June 22, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 156 (“EO 156”), which, effective immediately, increases the permissible number of attendees at indoor and outdoor gatherings from the limits he established in Executive Order 152 (“EO 152”) (which we wrote about here).
June 24, 2020
As we previously reported, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many employers and employees throughout Europe. Since mid-March 2020, the Government of the United Kingdom has implemented several measures and guidance to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to other European jurisdictions, one such measure is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”), designed to help employers retain their workforce. Currently, the CJRS provides partial subsidized wages to approximately 7.5 million UK employees across 935,000 employers. Recently, the UK has provided updates to the CJRS, including an extension of partial wage replacement grants and a shift toward allowing part-time work.
In late March 2020, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the implementation of the CJRS. Under the CJRS, all UK employers with Pay As You Earn (“PAYE”) payroll schemes that were opened and in use on or before February 28, 2020 may apply for wage replacement grants to distribute to their furloughed employees. The CJRS recently has been extended to October 31, 2020.
June 22, 2020
On June 13, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 105 (“EO 154”), permitting the reopening of “personal care service facilities,” at 6:00 a.m. on June 22, 2020, provided the facilities comply with mandated social distancing and other health safeguarding requirements. Specifically, EO 154 covers, “cosmetology shops; barber shops; beauty salons; hair braiding shops; nail salons; electrology facilities; spas, including day spas and medical spas, at which solely elective and cosmetic medical procedures are performed; massage parlors, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors.” To reopen these personal care service facilities must comply with standards issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (“DOH”), and Division of Consumer Affairs, as applicable.
June 16, 2020
In a recent 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court, in Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A., 590 U.S. __ (2020), held that participants in defined benefit pension plans lack standing to sue plan fiduciaries for allegedly imprudent plan investments where the participants continue to receive their full benefits and no imminent risk that they will cease receiving their full benefits appears.
June 2, 2020
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing
USCIS has announced here that beginning the month of June 2020, it will again start accepting certain petitions for premium processing. Premium processing was indefinitely suspended as of March 20, 2020, due to the Covid-19.
Premium processing allows (1) nonimmigrant petitions filed on Form I-129 that are reserved for H-1B, L-1A/B, O-1, and TN work authorization and (2) immigrant petitions filed by employers on behalf of foreign national employees on Form I-140 to be adjudicated within fifteen calendar days of USCIS receipt of the premium processing application request. The application is filed on Form I-907 and requires payment of the $1,440 USCIS filing fee.
June 1, 2020
The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) provided forgivable loans to assist small businesses with expenses during the COVID-19 shutdown, seemingly creating a lifeline for many of these enterprises. As explained here, a borrower could obtain a loan equal to the lesser of $10 million or the sum of its average monthly payroll costs for 2.5 months, (reduced to the extent that any individual was paid more than $100,000 per year) plus the balance of any Economic Injury Disaster Loan received between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020. Like many federal programs, however, participation in the PPP program requires an extensive series of certifications that could expose borrowers to liability under the under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), a Civil War era statute, that the government has continued to use to combat both government contract and health care fraud. Borrowers must, therefore, remain mindful of the key aspects of the FCA as they use PPP funds and as they apply for loan forgiveness.
May 15, 2020
On May 13, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 142 , which allows for the resuming of non-essential construction projects (subject to certain conditions and restrictions), the reopening of retail businesses (curbside pickup only) and permitting public gatherings of more than 10 people so long as attendees stay in closed (or socially distant) vehicles. Some of the provisions of Executive Order 142 take effect immediately, and others at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, May 18, 2020.
May 13, 2020
As numerous jurisdictions now mandate citizens wear face masks in public, many retailers have begun requiring customers to cover their faces as a safety measure to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 among employees and fellow customers. Retailers intending to enforce a policy whereby it will turn away customers who refuse to wear face masks should be mindful of abiding by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which governs retails stores as a place of public accommodation.