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IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION AND LEGAL ALERTS

IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION AND LEGAL ALERTS

We are facing a rapidly changing environment. The challenges affect every aspect of life and every member of our communities. We have set up this webpage to provide up-to-date information on legal matters as well as health, financial, tax and business resources, as well as CARES Act information, that may be useful to you in handling your day-to-day concerns and needs. This page provides short Alerts on recent developments and links to government and private resources and programs. We also encourage you to follow our updates on LinkedIn and Facebook.

At Bousquet Holstein, we are continuing to focus on you, our clients and friends, on your legal matters and on working together to stay current on developments. All of our attorneys, paralegals and support staff are working remotely and accessible to you by email and by calling their office phones or cell phones.

If you are new to the firm, and would like to speak with legal counsel to assist you or your business during this difficult time, you may call 315.422.1500. We have a receptionist taking calls remotely weekdays between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM. Or you are welcome to complete the Contact Form at the bottom of this page and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Governor Cuomo Announces That, Based on Each Region’s Infection Rate, Schools Across New York State are Permitted to Open This Fall

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that based on each region’s infection rate, schools across the state are permitted to open this fall. Every region’s infection rate is below the threshold necessary by the State’s standards to open schools. The Department of Health will review submitted reopening plans from school districts and notify districts of their status on Monday. Out of 749 school districts across the state, 127 have not yet submitted plans to the Department of Health, and another 50 are incomplete or deficient.  The determination of how individual districts reopen – in-person vs a hybrid model – will be made by local school districts under strict Department of Health guidelines. The Department of Health’s guidance is available hereThe Governor also announced that school districts must post their remote learning plan online as well as their plan for testing and tracing students and teachers. Schools must also have three to five public meetings prior to August 21 with parents – who will be allowed to participate remotely – as well as one meeting with teachers to go through their reopening plan.

Guidelines for Phase Four Reopening Released by Governor’s Office

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.
Phase 4 includes Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment (at 33% capacity) and Indoor Arts & Entertainment (at 25% capacity), Media Production, and Higher Education. Colleges and universities will be expected to submit plans for approval to NYS. Social gathering size has been increased to 50 people (from 25 people). Some business that anticipated to open in Phase 4 will NOT be allowed to resume operations because NYS is conducting additional studies on these industries as it pertains to virus transmission. This includes: Movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys, casinos, and malls, which will all remain closed.

More details and a complete list of guidelines are available HERE.

Guidelines for Phase Three Reopening Released by Governor’s Office

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

Industry Guidelines for Phase Three Reopening including restaurants and personal services business such as nail salons, tattoo services, and massage therapists are available HERE.

Guidelines for Phase Two Reopening Release by Governor’s Office

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

Industry Guidelines for Phase Two Reopening are available HERE.

Phase One Reopening Guidelines for Businesses

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

Industry Guidelines for Phase One Reopening are available HERE

You can visit ESD’s website for frequently asked reopening questions HERE.
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SBA Releases Responses to FAQs on the Application for Forgiveness of the PPP Loan

On August 4, 2020, the Small Business Administration released responses to Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding the application for forgiveness of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loan. For details please review this Legal Alert posted by Bousquet Holstein Attorney Christy Vouri-Misso: http://bhlawpllc.com/publication/sba-releases-responses-to-faqs-on-the-application-for-forgiveness-of-the-ppp-loan/

 

SBA Updates Requirements for New PPP Loans and Loan Forgiveness

On June 11, June 12, June 17, and June 19, 2020, the Small Business Administration issued a series of revisions to the Interim Final Rules associated with the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). These revisions are consistent with the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which was signed into law on June 5, 2020 and which modified the original PPP rules in the CARES Act. For more details please read this Legal Alert posted by Attorney Gregory Eriksen:  https://bhlawpllc.com/publication/sba-updates-requirements-for-new-ppp-loans-and-loan-forgiveness/

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LOOSENED RESTRICTIONS ON USE AND FORGIVENESS OF PPP LOANS – LOANS STILL AVAILABLE INFORMATION

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act is effective June 5, 2020, and modifies and relaxes some of the loan conditions in the CARES Act.  Approximately $100 billion in loans are still available, and currently applications must be received by June 30, 2020. For more information please review this Legal Alert posted by attorney Gregory Eriksen: http://bhlawpllc.com/publication/loosened-restrictions-on-use-and-forgiveness-of-ppp-loans-loans-still-available/

 

CARES ACT AND PPPIA INFORMATION
Paycheck Protection Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses. On Friday, April 24, 2020, the President signed the PPPIA into law which authorized an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program loan program and the set-aside of a portion of these new funds for lending by small and community-based lenders.

The PPPIA also authorized  $10 billion more for grants under the Economic Injury Disaster  Loan program (EIDL) and $50 billion more for EIDL loans directly administered by the SBA.  For more information please review this Legal Alert:  http://bhlawpllc.com/publication/more-funding-ava…-to-meet-payroll/ ‎

For detailed information on funding options, loans, grants, relief program, and the Paycheck Protection Program, please visit these government websites, and please contact your attorney for guidance:

  • Small Business Administration (SBA)– here you will find information on all COVID-19 related programs that SBA is providing, including the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants, and Small Business Debt Relief.
  • Department of Treasury– here you will find information on the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as other tax provisions meant to help employers, including non-profits.|
  • NEW! The Small Business Administration has released the much-anticipated SBA Form 3508, the application required for forgiveness of the Paycheck Protection Program loan. A borrower must submit a loan forgiveness application to its lender, not the SBA. For detailed information and a link to the application form please review this Legal Alert posted by attorneys Jean S. Everett and Christy Vouri-Misso. http://bhlawpllc.com/publication/paycheck-protection-program-loan-forgiveness-application-released/
  • The Department of Treasury has issued an updated list of frequently asked questions regarding PPP. Find the list of FAQs here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
  • To help small business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the new programs that are available to them, the US Senate Committee for Small Business and Entrepreneurship has created a comprehensive guide many of the small business provisions in the CARES Act.  These programs and initiatives are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. This guide will be updated as new guidelines and opportunities are made available.
  • The SBA and DOT issued another round of Frequently Asked Questions for the Paycheck Protection Program including confirming the significance of the certification required to be made by Applicants that current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support their ongoing operations.  https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
  • The IRS has released Revenue Procedure 2020-23 which allows certain partnerships to file amended returns for the 2018 and 2019 tax years thereby permitting those partnerships to amend returns in order to take advantage of the retroactive tax relief available to partnerships in the CARES Act. https://bhlawpllc.com/publication/irs-releases-revenue-procedure-allowing-partnerships-to-amend-returns-to-take-advantage-of-cares-act-benefits/

 

BOUSQUET HOLSTEIN LEGAL ALERTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

(Please scroll down for CDC websites, local and state hotlines, and health department links)

  • The Governor’s Office has issued a report that charts a course for New York to follow, setting a regional approach – one that the state can adjust, based on data being continually monitor – designed to open as
    many parts of the state as possible, for as many people as possible, as soon as it is demonstrably safe to do so.  https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYForwardReopeningGuide.pdf
  • The New York State Department of Economic Development has created a guide for businesses in each region that will re-open in phases. Re-opening refers to non-essential businesses, essential businesses that are open will remain open. Eligible industries must be in regions that have met the criteria to re-open. This guide provides specific safety precautions for businesses.  https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase#overview
  • The IRS and Treasury have successfully delivered nearly 130 million Economic Impact Payments to Americans in less than a month, and more are on the way. Some Americans may have received a payment amount different than what they expected. Payment amounts vary based on income, filing status and family size. See IRS link for some common scenarios that may explain why you received a different payment amount than expected.  https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/why-the-economic-impact-payment-amount-could-be-different-than-anticipated
  • In this time of uncertainty businesses face massive challenges, with the landscape seeming to shift daily. Many are feeling information overload. To support regional businesses, a panel of attorneys at Bousquet Holstein joined with the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, May 8th for another webinar in the COVID-19 Business Readiness Series. This program provided an open forum for chamber members and guests to get answers to some of their most pressing questions on a variety of issues, including Employment, Tax, SBA loan program, commercial contracts, landlord/tenant matters, and insurance coverage. To view a recording of the webinar:
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and government response measures present numerous challenging issues within supply chain, landlord/tenant, and other business relationships. On Friday, May 1st, Bousquet Holstein Attorneys Larry Bousquet, Joe Porcello and Josh Werbeck hosted a webinar as part of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Readiness Series,  focusing on Contractual Obligations and COVID-19:  Force Majeure and Other Excuses for Non-Performance. If you were unable to attend, you may review the recorded webinar here: https://youtu.be/VK7LIx_GV78
  • Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced all NYS on Pause restrictions and closures will be extended until May 15th. This action is taken in consultation with other regional states. The states will re-evaluate after this additional closure period. Governor Cuomo also directed all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings on public transportation systems and while taking private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles. These directives expand on the Executive Order announced by the Governor on Thursday, April 16th requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. The Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, April 17th, at 8 PM.   https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-announces-nys-pause-extended-until-may-15
REAL ESTATE ISSUES
  • Governor Cuomo today extended the NYS eviction moratorium for residential and commercial tenancies through August 20, 2020 (it previously expired in June).  The Governor is also prohibiting late charges and requiring that landlords permit tenants to use security deposits for monthly rent.
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are adopting an interim final rule to amend the agencies’ regulations requiring appraisals of real estate for certain transactions. The interim final rule adds a new, temporary provision to the appraisal regulations that provides a 120-day deferral of appraisal and evaluation requirements for all transactions secured by commercial or residential real estate during the COVID-19 pandemic, excluding transactions for acquisition, development, and construction of real estate. The interim final rule does not revise any of the existing appraisal exceptions or any other requirements with respect to the performance of evaluations.  http://bhlawpllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Interim-Rule-from-Federal-Bank-Regulators-Deferring-Appraisals.pdf
EMPLOYMENT ISSUES
  • On May 17, 2020, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Labor jointly issued guidance (the “Guidance”) addressing health care employee eligibility to take leave under New York’s COVID-19 Sick Leave Law. For a detailed review of this guidance please read this Legal Alert posted by attorneys Rebecca R. Cohen and John L. Valentinohttps://bhlawpllc.com/publication/new-york-issues-guidance-on-covid-19-sick-leave-for-health-care-employees/
  • As businesses reopen, owners are confronted with untold challenges. Reopening and rehiring decisions are fraught with uncertainty in ordinary times but the governmental response to the pandemic adds additional considerations including: 1) the impact on enhanced unemployment benefits, 2) the need to accommodate employees as they cope with personal, child and elder care, and health concerns and demands, 3) the impact of collective bargaining agreements and anti-discrimination laws and policies, 4) and employment reduction penalties on forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program loan. For more details on these issues, please review this Legal Alert posted by attorney Kavitha Janardhan: http://bhlawpllc.com/publication/tough-decisions-rehiring-laid-off-and-furloughed-employees/
  • In further response to the COVID-19 crisis in NYS, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16 on April 12, 2020, providing, among other things, that:
    • All essential businesses or entities must provide, at their expense, face coverings for those employees who are present in the workplace and have direct contact with customers or members of the public.
    • Such face coverings shall be worn by employees when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.
    • This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8:00 p.m.

    For more information and details regarding this Executive Order:
    http://bhlawpllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Employee-Face-Coverings-Now-Required-Under-NYS-Executive-Order.pdf

  • The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hours Division has provided the first required posting regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to be made available to all employees: FFCRA Posting 1
  • On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) effective April 1 through December 31, 2020.  The FFCRA seeks to assist employees impacted by COVID-19 and covers employers with less than 500 employees and certain public agencies. This Legal Alert posted by Employment Attorney Kavitha Janardhan is focused on the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act portion of the FFCRA. The Emergency FMLA Expansion Act amends the Family and Medical Leave Act providing additional protections to employees affected by COVID-19. https://bhlawpllc.com/publication/emergency-family-and-medical-leave-expansion-act/
BUSINESS ISSUES
TRUSTS AND ESTATES ISSUES:
FAMILY LAW ISSUES
TAX AND DEBT ISSUES:
  • UPDATE: The Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service has extended additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses.  This notice expands relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. The extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extra time.   http://bhlawpllc.com/publication/irs-extends-more-tax-deadlines-to-cover-individuals-trusts-estates-corporations/
  • To help millions of people, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return. The non-filer tool, developed in partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, provides a free and easy option designed for people who don’t have a return filing obligation, including those with too little income to file. The feature is available only on IRS.gov, and users should look for Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here to take them directly to the tool.
  • On March 17, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James announced that effective immediately, the State will temporarily halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State and referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection from March 16, 2020 through April 15, 2020. For more information please review this Legal Alert from attorney  Jane Yue Zhang:
    https://bhlawpllc.com/publication/legal-alert-covid-19-suspension-of-debt-collection-by-nys/
TRAVEL AND IMMIGRATION ISSUES:
  • UPDATE!  The Federal government has agreed to rescind its new policy directive preventing full online instruction in the US for International students settling a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston federal court. Thus, foreign students are now permitted to lawfully remain in the United States even if  their schools switch to online-only instruction.https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-weighs-scaling-back-rules-on-foreign-students-studying-online-11594746772The original guidance of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued on July 6, 2020, banned foreign students enrolled in U.S. colleges from returning to or remaining in the United States if their colleges adopt a remote-only instruction model for the fall 2020 semester. An increasing number of U.S. universities announced that they will reopen their campuses in the fall but will be conducting online classes. Even with campuses open, international students would have been prohibited from studying in the United States under the original guidance.
  • A Presidential Proclamation was issued June 22, 2020, that extends the suspension on some immigrant visa entries and also suspends new entries for some individuals seeking L-1, H-1B, H-2B, or J-1 nonimmigrant work visas.  The proclamation goes into effect at midnight (Eastern Time) on June 24, 2020 and will last through December 31, 2020. For more details, please review this Legal Alert posted by immigration attorney Janet Moon:
    https://bhlawpllc.com/publication/proclamation-suspends-some-nonimmigrant-work-visa-entries-and-extends-suspension-of-immigrant-visa-entries/
  • A Proclamation was issued suspending some immigrant visa entries.  The order went into effect April 23, 2020 at midnight eastern time and will last for 60 days.  The effect of this proclamation is that some people who are outside the U.S. waiting for an immigrant visa may not enter the U.S. as immigrants during the next 60 days.  https://bhlawpllc.com/publication/proclamation-suspending-immigrant-visa-entries/
  • In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Homeland Security and related agencies have closed or strictly limited many immigration-related services, but emergency services continue and some applications are still being processed. The following is an overview of the current immigration services posted by Immigration Attorney Janet E. Moonhttps://bhlawpllc.com/publication/legal-alert-limited-immigration-services-continue/
  • On March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security announced agreements with Canada and Mexico to restrict unnecessary travel across the borders shared with each country. Each agreement became effective on March 21, 2020 and remains in effect for 30 days (and may be extended). Unnecessary travel includes tourism or recreation, but the agreements do not prohibit cross-border trade, supplies, or individuals engaged in essential travel. Please review the attached Legal Alert posted by Immigration Attorney Anna Putintsevahttps://bhlawpllc.com/publication/covid-19-u-s-canada-and-u-s-mexico-travel-restrictions/
IMPORTANT LINKS TO NEW YORK STATE WEBSITES:

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES AND INFORMATION:

United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Coronavirus Information (COVID-19)

CDC: Coronavirus Main Website
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

CDC Handouts and Flyers:

CDC Coronavirus Fact Sheet- Handout   CDC FACTS ABOUT COVID-19

CDC Facts About Coronavirus- Handout  CDC Coronavirus Fact Sheet

CDC Guidance for Employers- Handout  CDC Coronavirus Guidance for Employers

CDC What to do if You’re Sick- Handout  CDC What to Do if You’re Sick

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and ADA

New York State Department of Health
https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

Onondaga County Department of Health
http://www.ongov.net/health/coronavirus.html

Tompkins County Department of Health
https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health

New York City Department of Health
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page

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Syracuse Community Health Center – Regional Testing Center
https://www.schcny.com/?page_id=1497
New York State Coronavirus Hotline   1-888-364-3065
Central New York – Upstate Medical COVID-19 Triage Hotline   315.464.3979
Onondaga County Senior Citizen Hotline (for seniors living independently)  314-218-1987 
Upstate Medical Emergency Management Coronavirus Website
https://www.upstate.edu/emergencymgt/trending/coronavirus.php
 

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