Posts tagged COVID-19.
California’s New Reopening Plan

On August 31, 2020, California introduced a statewide blueprint for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic designed to provide clear guidance and timelines for which industries may safely open. 

The new system is color-coded and has four tiers, with Tier 1 being the highest risk of community disease transmission and Tier 4 the lowest risk. The four tiers are based on two factors: (1) the county’s positivity rate; and (2) the daily new cases for each 100,000 residents.

The tiers are outlined below:

  • Tier 1 (purple/widespread): higher than 8% testing positivity rate; more than 7 daily ...
President Trump Issues COVID-19 Executive Orders Impacting Employers

On August 8, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impact certain employers: 

Deferral of certain payroll tax obligations for the period from September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020: The order found here directs the Secretary of the Treasury to defer certain employee payroll taxes for bi-weekly wages that are generally less than $4,000.00 (under approximately $104,000.00 annually).

This order delays the 6.2% of wages that employers currently withhold from employee wages in every paycheck that is then ...

Los Angeles County Proposes that Employees Report COVID-19 Violations through Public Health Commissions

On July 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to enforce the monitoring of compliance with County health orders by encouraging workers to directly report health code violations through employee “public health councils.” Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas co-authored the motion, which could have a significant impact by placing employees, rather than public health inspectors, at the front lines of enforcing public health orders.

The Board noted that workplace transmission has been a significant factor contributing to the ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Your Food Delivery Worker May Soon Be Certified

On July 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced that it would be considering a county-wide requirement for food delivery workers to obtain a food handler certification. The Board noted that food delivery network companies, including Instacart and Uber Eats, are essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they rely on independent gig workers. 

The Motion, put forward by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, sought more information on the feasibility and costs of requiring these workers to obtain a food handler certification in order to ...

Posted in Legal Bites
“L.A. Al Fresco” Program Launched

The City of Los Angeles has launched an “L.A. Al Fresco” Program aimed at helping restaurants reopen while following COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. 

The program will allow restaurants to use their sidewalk and private parking lots spaces to increase their outdoor dining capacity.  Through the program, the City will offer streamlined, immediate approval for eligible restaurants to provide outdoor dining in sidewalks and private parking lots.  The approval will also allow restaurants to serve alcohol in these areas.

L.A. Al Fresco was launched on May 29, 2020 and the ...

California Issues Guidance To Reopen Schools

Running out of things to do during the COVID-19 crisis? 

You are in luck. Yesterday the California Department of Education released a lengthy, 55 page guidance on the reopening of public schools. You can find the guidebook for the safe reopening of California's public schools here. Enjoy!

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some ...

Posted in Taxing Matters
Like-Kind Exchanges In A COVID-19 World (And What To Do About The Sharon Mitchell Decision)

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc worldwide. It has even infected the real estate industry, particularly the tax aspects of operating in the real estate industry such as Section 1031 like-kind exchanges.

The basics of like-kind exchanges remain unchanged, notwithstanding COVID-19: No gain is recognized if real property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment is exchanged solely for real property of a like kind to be held for such purposes. But with deferred and reverse exchanges being the norm and simultaneous exchanges being the exception, it is now virtually ...

Posted in Legal Bites
LA City Council Caps Delivery Fees at 15%

On June 3, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council adopted an ordinance capping third-party food delivery services fees at 15% for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The ordinance will become part of the City’s Municipal Code.

The new ordinance makes it unlawful for a third-party food delivery service to charge a restaurant a fee per online order of more than 15% of the purchase price of the order. The ordinance is designed to protect the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, when dine-in was prohibited. The ordinance is set to expire 90 days after the ...

Los Angeles City and County Issue Dine-In Restaurant Guidelines for Reopening

On Friday, May 29th, both the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles announced that dine-in restaurants are permitted to reopen. Both the city and county have also issued guidelines for restaurants to follow in the reopening of their dine-in operations.

The County of Los Angeles’ protocols for the reopening of on-site dining for restaurants and other permanent retail food operations are found here.

The City of Los Angeles’ guidelines for dine-in restaurants and bars in the City of Los Angeles can be found here. At this time, bars are not permitted to reopen except for food ...

Los Angeles County Announces Dine-In Restaurants, Hair Salons and Barbershops May Reopen

Today, May 29, 2020, the County of Los Angeles announced that it will move further into Phase 2 reopening by permitting dine-in restaurants, hair salons and barber shops to reopen.  This decision came after the County learned it received a variance from the State of California to allow this action.  Los Angeles County has moved at a much slower pace than most California counties due to its higher number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

 Los Angeles County also announced it will be posting new restaurant guidelines later today.  Restaurants may open for in-house dining when the County posts ...

Los Angeles County Enacts COVID-19 Worker Protection Ordinances

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has followed the lead of the Los Angeles City Council by passing COVID-19 right of recall and worker retention ordinances that are similar to the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 recall and retention ordinances passed on April 29, 2020. The county right of recall ordinance requires certain janitorial, maintenance, security service and hospitality employers, when rehiring, to offer jobs based on seniority to certain workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both ordinances are intended to assist workers in unincorporated areas of Los ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Loan Forgiveness Applications

Our previous articles summarized the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created under the Federal CARES Act: CARES Act: Loan Applications and CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program Loans

This client alert provides new information regarding a key aspect of the PPP program, namely the criteria which must be met to have repayment of all or part of a PPP loan forgiven. This is simply a summary of some key points, so check with your attorney at ECJ for the critical details governing PPP loan forgiveness.

The Treasury Department has published an application form for loan ...

Governor Newsom Relaxes California Guidelines for Business Reopening

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson announced relaxed state guidelines for Phase 2 reopening of dine-in restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls. The relaxed guidelines would permit 53 of California’s 58 counties to move into Phase 2 reopening. However, with its higher infection and death rate, it is not expected that Los Angeles County will be ready for Phase 2 in the immediate future. 

Instead of the prior guideline of having no deaths within the last 14 days, under the new state guidelines, COVID-19 hospitalizations cannot increase more than ...

Los Angeles County Issues New Order Permitting Certain Businesses To Reopen

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Los Angeles County issued an updated “Safer at Home” order that amends and supersedes prior Los Angeles County Health Officer orders. The new order is intended to partially move Los Angeles County into the second stage of reopening businesses.

The businesses now permitted to reopen can do so only for curbside, door side, or other outdoor or outside pick-up, or delivery.  Members of the public cannot be permitted inside these businesses.  Businesses permitted to open on this basis are retailers not located in indoor malls or shopping centers, and ...

DOL Extends COBRA Deadlines In Response to COVID-19 National Emergency

On May 4, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) jointly issued a new final rule that temporarily extends time frames in which eligible employees can elect COBRA health insurance coverage and begin making COBRA premium payments. The final rule extends COBRA deadlines to 60 days after the end of the declared COVID-19 national emergency, or a different date if the DOL and IRS provide a different date in future guidance.

To help participants and beneficiaries understand the new rule, the DOL also posted a new set of FAQs.     

This blog is presented under protest by ...

California Extends Workers’ Compensation to COVID-19

Earlier today, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order extending workers’ compensation insurance coverage to essential workers who test positive for coronavirus or are diagnosed with COVID-19 by a physician. The order establishes a rebuttable presumption that any essential worker contracted the virus on the job and is, therefore, eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This presumption effectively places the burden of proof on companies or insurers to prove that the essential worker did not get sick at work in order to permissibly deny coverage. The order applies ...

Los Angeles Enacts COVID-19 Right of Recall and Retention Ordinances

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed a COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance requiring certain hospitality, janitorial, property management and tourism employers, when rehiring, to offer jobs based on seniority to certain workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the same time, the council also passed a COVID-19 Worker Retention Ordinance. Both ordinances are intended to assist workers in sectors which have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus crisis and both ordinances had been approved in concept in the prior week subject only to ...

Large Food Sector Employers Must Provide Supplemental Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave

To address fears that food sector workers are more likely to work when sick, Governor Gavin Newsom recently issued Executive Order N-51-20, which requires large food sector employers (500+ employees in U.S.) to provide up to 2 weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to workers, including independent contractors, who are unable to work due to the following COVID-19-related reasons:

  • the worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • the worker is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns ...
Los Angeles County Expands Paid Sick Leave Requirements For COVID-19

In a move which largely mirrors the steps taken by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted to extend certain paid sick leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to employees working within Los Angeles County for private employers that employ 500 or more persons in the United States. The ordinance is effective immediately and will expire on December 31, 2020. 

The ordinance applies to all persons who perform work for a covered employer within the County of Los Angeles and specifies that all such persons are presumed to be ...

Los Angeles City Council Votes for Worker Retention and Recall Rules

On Wednesday, April 22nd, the Los Angeles City Council voted to have a right of recall ordinance drafted that would require certain hospitality, janitorial, property management and tourism employers when rehiring to notify workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the proposed ordinance, a business would be required to provide notices to laid-off workers that it is rehiring, and to rehire based on seniority. Workers would have a 10-day period in which to respond, and an employer would have 15 days to respond to employee claims that they had inadequate opportunity to be ...

Taking Employees’ Temperatures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Employers can take employees’ temperatures to respond to and manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated in its updated guidance that the COVID-19 crisis permits employers to measure employees’ body temperatures before allowing them to enter the worksite. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control recommends in its community mitigation framework that workplaces in areas with “minimal to moderate risk” implement regular temperature and respiratory checks. 

How to Conduct Temperature Checks

As for the precise temperature to ...

Action Alert - The LA City Council Is Attempting to Place Unprecedented Hiring Rules on the Private Sector

As we recently reported, the Los Angeles City Council is considering implementing hiring restrictions and requirements on the private sector.  If passed, these ordinances with exponentially increase the difficulties already faced by businesses throughout Los Angeles as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.  There are several motions pending, each of which will adversely impact employers.  Given the importance of the issue, we are reposting the following from the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce:

Action Alert! On Wednesday, April 22 at 10 am, the Los Angeles City Council is meeting to ...

Coronavirus And The Reluctant Employee

You have a business that is permitted to continue operations and is not subject to a “stay at home” order.  You have informed employees of this fact.  You have even provided employees with a letter setting forth specific information on why they are allowed to continue working and traveling to and from work to show authorities or anyone else who might ask.  Nevertheless, you have one or more employees who do not want to work because of COVID-19 and are asking to stay home.  What do you do?

If you are a business with 500 or fewer employees, you first need to find out why these employees are asking to ...

Calculating Paid Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

To calculate the amount to be paid for employee leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, it is clear that employees who take advantage of FFCRA paid leave must be paid what they would ordinarily earn in a workweek. Their ordinary workweek earnings are based on their regular rate of pay, including the base rate for any overtime hours worked, but not any premium pay. An employee should only receive paid leave for the hours they are normally scheduled to work. Accordingly, an employer must first determine both the regular rate of pay and the appropriate work schedule in order ...

What Small Businesses Need To Know About The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

If your business has fewer than 50 employees, you may qualify for the small business exemption to a portion of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  Specifically, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if those FFCRA leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.  In other words, the small business exemption only excuses the employer from providing paid leave for reason no. 5 on the official FFCRA Notice, which all ...

City Council Approves Expansion Of Paid Sick Leave Requirements For COVID-19

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to extend the requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to employees working within the City of Los Angeles for employers that employ 500 or more persons in the United States. The ordinance applies to all employees who have been employed with the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020, and provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave benefits to full-time workers calculated based on the employee’s average two week pay over the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020. Employees who work less than 40 hours per ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Loan Applications

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law, and it includes significant relief provisions for small businesses. Our previous articles summarized the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and the expansion of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) Program

This client alert provides new information regarding PPP loan and EIDL applications. Given this subject’s urgency and the complexity of the CARES Act, this is simply a short summary to provide you a starting point for exploring relief which ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Economic Injury Disaster Loans

On March 6, 2020, Congress passed an act deeming the COVID-19 pandemic a disaster eligible for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) Program.  On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law, providing significant relief provisions for small businesses, including user-friendly modifications to the EIDL Program.   

This client alert briefly summarizes certain provisions which greatly expand, for the period between January 31 and December 31, 2020 (the “Covered Period”), the number of ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program Loans

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), signed into law on March 27, 2020, provides significant relief provisions for small businesses. This client alert briefly summarizes certain provisions of a newly-created loan program—the “Paycheck Protection Program”—which may help your business weather this storm. Given this subject’s urgency and the complexity of the Act, this is simply a short summary to provide you a starting point for exploring relief which may be available to you. Check with your attorney at ECJ for the critical details ...

My grandmother used to say that one of the biggest lies told in America was the statement: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”. Grandma was a bit of a pessimist. But the Department of Labor has issued, and continues to add segments to, a very helpful and rather lengthy question and answer page that provides guidance for employers on implementing the paid sick and family leave requirements under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, set to take effect on April 1, 2020. This information is particularly useful in light of the fact that the DOL has not yet provided ...

CARES Act Provides Relief For COVID-19 Individuals and Businesses

At 880 pages in length, “comprehensive” does not seem to do it justice. But the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is, in a word, comprehensive. Coming on the heels of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which focused primarily on relief for employees, the CARES Act seeks to provide both individuals and businesses with immediate relief, and a path forward, as we look to a future following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individual Relief

Many individuals will receive a check directly from the government. Specifically, individual adults making less than $75,000 in ...

Business Interruption Insurance Coverage in the Age of Coronavirus

Businesses whose operations have been shut down due to the coronavirus crisis rightly look to their business interruption or business income policies for relief. As a general matter, in order to trigger coverage those policies require (1) direct physical loss or damage; (2) to covered property: (3) arising from a covered peril; and (4) resulting in the suspension of the business’ operations.

In cases where coverage is triggered, an insured business may be entitled to recover the net income it would have received but for the interruption and its operating expenses during the time ...

Employers Must Use This Notice for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Department of Labor released the required notice for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act today.  All employers covered by the FFCRA must post the notice in a conspicuous place to advise all current employees of their rights under the Act.  The FFCRA, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last week, expands employee leave laws in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  (For more information on the FFCRA, see earlier “What Employers Need To Know About The Families-First Coronavirus Response Act” article on this blog.) 

Since many workforces are currently ...

To assist California employers in understanding the possible application of benefits available to workers in response to the COVID-19 crisis under both state and federal law, we provide the following handy chart:

Click Here to view a print-friendly version of the chart. 

Posted in ECJ Blogs
Coronavirus Advice for Creditors

During this unprecedented time of uncertainty, landlords, financial institutions, vendors, suppliers, and other creditors will undoubtedly be affected. Due to the closure of most businesses which are considered non-essential, it is inevitable that ordinary business obligations such as rent, payments for equipment or inventory financing, employees, and creditors will not be made. It is just a matter of time before business owners default, and creditors will be faced with a problem that unless immediately addressed will only become larger. Some of the obvious signs that a ...

COVID-19: How to Determine If Your Business Should Remain Open 

There is a fair amount of confusion among California businesses regarding Governor Newsom’s “stay home” order and which facilities should remain open.  Unfortunately, Executive Order N-33-20 does not provide much guidance. It does, however, refer to the list of federal government's critical infrastructure sectors posted by the Department of Homeland Security and except those individuals “needed to maintain the continuity of operations” of those sectors. In addition, the state’s website clarifies that critical government services, schools, childcare, and ...

What Employers Need To Know About The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges for employers trying to remain responsive to the crisis but also struggling to absorb the burden it has imposed on their businesses. With much anxiety, employers have also been anticipating a new law, H.R. 6201, to go into effect that would expand family and medical leave requirements to cover COVID-19. As of yesterday, Congress passed and President Trump signed the final version of H.R. 6201, titled the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The Act will take effect on April 1, 2020 and will remain effective until December 31 ...

Coronavirus And The Magic Of The Furlough

As employers struggle to cope with the impact of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), we have encountered a surprising number of employers who have been led to believe that a “furlough” is an employer option that can be implemented without regard for various laws that might otherwise apply. It is not. To be blunt, while the term “furlough” seems to be a more employee-friendly word for what many employers are doing, there is no magic to it. Indeed, until the California Legislature or Congress pass more comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation, employers must still comply with all ...

Urgent: Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order to Address Cal-Warn Concerns In Coronavirus Crisis 

In an effort to address some of the issues presented by California’s WARN Act in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Newsom has issued Executive Order N-31-20 partially suspending certain provisions of Cal-WARN.  As we reported here, the wording of California’s WARN Act exposes employers temporarily closing or engaging in layoffs due to COVID-19 to liability for back pay, the value of benefits, penalties of $500 per day and attorneys’ fees.  Unlike the federal WARN Act, California’s version has no exception for unforeseen business circumstances and requires ...

What Employers Should Know About The Coronavirus 

Given the level of concern regarding the coronavirus, providing employees with reliable information and establishing both a prevention plan and a plan to follow if illness occurs is a good way to avoid panic and help ensure a healthy workplace. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently held a press conference to provide an update on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The CDC published a fact sheet as well as steps to follow if you are sick with the coronavirus. Both publications can be distributed to employees along with a memo outlining steps for prevention and ...

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