Posts from April 2021.
DFEH Updates COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has updated its COVID-19 vaccination guidance, replacing its prior guidance issued July 24, 2020.

The DFEH’s updated guidance, available here, permits employers to require employees to receive a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), subject to certain exceptions and requirements. 

Specifically, in instituting such a mandatory policy, an employer’s policies or practices cannot discriminate or harass employees or applicants based on a characteristic protected by the Fair Employment ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Federal Food Bills – Proposed Changes for the Food Industry

During the first quarter of 2021, various federal bills were introduced which impact the food industry. This article provides a primer on some of these bills and their potential impact on the food industry.

The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act (S.578), introduced by Senator Tim Scott on March 3, 2021, later passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives, and signed into law by President Biden on April 26, 2021:

  • The FASTER Act requires companies to declare the presence of sesame on food packaging labels by January 1, 2023 and was introduced and ...
Posted in Legal Bites
Restaurant Revitalization Fund Opening May 3

On April 27, 2021, the Small Business Administration ("SBA") announced that the much-anticipated Restaurant Revitalization Fund would be opening on May 3, 2021 at 9 am PST/12 pm EST. Restaurant operators may register through the SBA’s RRF portal beginning on Friday, April 30 at 6 am PST/9 am EST.

The SBA will host two webinars on Tuesday, April 27 and Wednesday, April 28 covering the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program details and how to submit an application. The two webinars will cover the same content. Registration is available here. The webinars are limited to the first ...

Posted in Legal Bites
LA Mayor Proposes Measures to Help Restaurants

On Monday, April 19, 2021, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his 2021 State of the City speech and announced several initiatives designed to assist restaurants. 

The proposals for restaurant relief included in Garcetti’s speech include:

  • $25 million program to write Comeback Checks of $5,000 to 5,000 small businesses.
  • A proposed ordinance to cut the time for alcohol permit approval for restaurants by 90% and to cut the cost of that permit by 70%.
  • Allowing restaurants to defer city fees of $8,000 or more for a three-year period.
  • Suspension of valet and off-site parking ...
California Enacts COVID-19 Right of Recall Law in Certain Sectors

Governor Newsom has signed into law Senate Bill 93, a state-wide right of recall, intended to assist California workers in sectors that have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new law, which is similar to earlier Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City COVID-19 ordinances, goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect through December 31, 2024. 

California’s new right of recall law applies to certain hotels, private clubs, event centers, airport hospitality operations and providers of janitorial, maintenance or security services to office, retail ...

Los Angeles County Revises Restaurant Protocols and Announces Live Event Rules

On April 17, 2021, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (“Department”) revised its protocol for restaurants to permit increased activities in light of the County’s Orange Tier reopening.

The changes include:

  • Allowing restaurants to have live outdoor entertainment. Live entertainment operations are allowed outdoors only.  Performers must be at least 12 feet away from seated customer groups.
  • Allowing restaurants to host private events when the restaurant is not operating for regular business. Private events are subject to a separate protocol and restaurants ...
Posted in Legal Bites
SBA Releases Restaurant Revitalization Program Guidelines

On Saturday, April 17, 2021, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) released its much-anticipated guidelines for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

On April 13, 2021, during a town hall with the Independent Restaurant Coalition, SBA associate administrator Patrick Kelley stated that the program was not robust enough to serve all eligible applicants and urged administrators to apply on the first day the program opens. He suggested that a demonstration of strong demand could lead to Congress opening additional funding for the program.

Eligible Entities

Eligible ...

IRS Issues Guidance on Business Meal Deductions

On April 8, 2021, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance regarding the temporary 100-percent deduction for food and beverage purchased from restaurants.

Beginning January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2022, businesses can deduct 100% of their food or beverage expenses paid to restaurants if the business owner (or an employee of the business) is present when food or beverages are provided, and as long as the expense is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.

The guidance defines eligible restaurants to include businesses that ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Ninth Circuit Dismisses “100% Natural” Chicken Advertising Case

The Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a district court decision dismissing a case for lack of standing, finding that an advocacy group must demonstrate that it affirmatively diverted resources to combat alleged false claims to maintain standing in a false advertising litigation.

The case, Friends of the Earth, et al. v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-03592 (N.D. Cal.), was originally filed by multiple advocacy groups in 2017 against Sanderson Farms, Inc., a poultry farming company.  Plaintiffs alleged that defendant violated both the California False Advertising Law and ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA Announces Actions on Leafy Green Safety

On April 6, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced agency actions to advance the safety of leafy greens.

First, the FDA announced that it was releasing a report of its investigation on the Fall 2020 outbreak of E. coli linked to the consumption of leafy greens. The report found that the outbreak, which caused 40 reported domestic illnesses, was linked via whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and geography to outbreaks traced back to the California growing region associated with the consumption of leafy greens in 2019 and 2018. The FDA investigated the outbreak ...

California Announces Full Reopening on June 15

On April 6, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a plan to lift all COVID-19 virus restrictions by June 15, 2021. The full reopening is contingent on both (1) sufficient vaccine supply to ensure that all Californians age 16 and over who wish to be inoculated are able to do so and (2) stable and low hospitalization rates. The full reopening would mean an official end to California’s color-coded tier system.

It remains unclear what restrictions may remain under the full reopening but Governor Newsom specified that some form of mask mandate will remain. The California ...

Bad Faith Liability Can Arise Even Absent A Demand Within Policy Limits 

In some circumstances an insurer’s duty to settle may arise even in the absence of a demand by the claimant within policy. The recent case of Planet Bingo, LLC v. The Burlington Insurance Company, 2021 DJDAR 2510 (March 18, 2021) is the latest decision to address this point.

In Planet Bingo, the insured manufactured handheld gaming devices. Those devices were distributed in the U.K. by Leisure Electronic Limited. Leisure leased some of the Planet Bingo’s devices to Beacon Bingo, which operated a bingo hall in London.

In September 2008 there was a fire at Beacon’s bingo hall ...

LA County Moves to Orange Tier Reopenings on April 5

Both Los Angeles and Orange County are now eligible to move from the Red Tier into the Orange Tier of COVID-19 reopening guidelines under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

On March 30, 2021, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department announced that while it satisfied the numbers requirement to move into the Orange Tier, it would wait until April 5 to permit businesses to operate at increased capacity.

On April 5, Los Angeles County will officially adopt Orange Tier reopening rules to the Public Health Officer Order. Under these new rules, the following changes will take ...

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