COVID-19 Resource Hub
The COVID-19 pandemic is incredibly fluid and requiring government agencies, businesses, and employers to respond to and prepare for circumstances that are uncharted and rapidly changing.
This page is intended to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions and provide other valuable resources for agencies, businesses, employers, and individuals to help navigate these unprecedented times. Lawyers throughout the Firm and in every practice area are providing clients with timely and practical legal counsel related to COVID-19. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (which are updated often to address new issues and concerns) followed by a list of webinars in our COVID-19 Webinar Series. Additionally, under the News & Updates tab, you can access Downey Brand legal alerts and blog posts, as well as links to local, state, and federal resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may ask employees with visible symptoms to go home and stay at home. You may also ask those who worked closely with employees who test positive to stay at home. You may ask employees with visible symptoms to get tested, though you cannot administer any testing yourself.
The IRS has announced that the filing deadline and payment of taxes has been pushed back to July 15, 2020. Additionally, any estimated tax payments due on April 15 can be paid on July 15.
Ensuring that you have the requisite documents in place to protect yourself—and your loved ones—during a period of incapacity is a good place to start. Completing an Advanced Health Directive allows you to appoint a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.
Now is the time, hopefully while you are healthy, to think about what will happen if you, your child, or your child’s other parent get sick or are required to self-quarantine. Again, the first step is to review your existing custody order, as it may generally address what will happen in the event one or both parents are ill and unable to care for the child.
It depends on the court. Courts are exempt from Governor Newsom’s shelter-in-place order. Nonetheless, California superior courts are handling their operations and functions differently during the COVID-19 crisis. Some are closed for anything other than emergencies, while others remain open and are accepting filings.
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"), which includes the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” and the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.” Both laws apply to public agencies and employers with fewer than 500 employees. The laws will expire on December 31, 2020.
Current economic indicators are startling and fast-moving. Already, in California, restaurants, bars, and public gatherings are being closed or curtailed, not to mention current travel restrictions. It is going to be a rough few months, or more, from a business perspective. If your revenue has or is about to drop precipitously, you need to be prepared and proactive.
- Use of NOLs to offset income in prior years;
- Accelerated use of AMT credits;
- Increased limit on interest expenses; and
- Immediate write-off of depreciable improvements.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act provides nearly $2 trillion in support to individuals and businesses in response to the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the CARES Act and President Trump signed the bill into law the same day.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020, and it allows employees affected by the coronavirus to receive paid leave. Under the Act, employees can receive paid sick leave if they are quarantined, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, caring for someone who is quarantined or caring for a child whose school has been closed.
Two potential areas of recovery here include each of event-cancellation and business interruption insurance policies.
Businesses and Associations are proactively, and in some instances being required, to cancel events, conferences, meetings, fund-raisers (especially in the non-profit area), and conventions.
Schools throughout the state have implemented mandatory closures in response to the coronavirus. Commencing March 16, 2020, all school districts in Sacramento County were closed to students for up to three weeks. Other school districts implemented similar closures. On April 1, 2020, state officials announced that all of California’s public K-12 school campuses will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year in response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.
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Downey Brand News & Updates
June 9, 2020
Trump Signs Executive Order Allowing Agencies to Bypass NEPA, ESA, and CWA Requirements
June 1, 2020
COVID-19 Alert: Judicial Council Amends Emergency Rule 9 for CEQA and Planning Cases
May 22, 2020
Farmers Affected by COVID-19 May Seek Economic Relief from the Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
Food and Agriculture
April 16, 2020
CalEPA Issues Statement on Enforcement and Compliance Requirements During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 13, 2020
USEPA Issues Interim Guidance on Site Field Work Decisions Due to Impacts of COVID-19
April 8, 2020
COVID-19 Alert: Judicial Council Issues Sweeping Emergency Rules; Local Agencies Issue Regional Changes
The Department of Labor Issues New Regulations on the FFCRA
March 29, 2020
The Department of Labor Issues Additional Guidance Regarding FFCRA Compliance
March 25, 2020
California Estate Planning Disrupted by COVID-19 Virus and “Social Distancing”
Trust on Trial
March 25, 2020
Employers Should Consider the EDD’s Work Share Program As an Alternative to Layoffs
March 23, 2020
Employers Can Begin Taking Advantage of Two New Refundable Payroll Tax Credits
March 20, 2020
Compliance with Water Board Requirements During the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Emergency
March 20, 2020
What is the status of the federal government’s changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act?
March 14, 2020
COVID-19 and Child Custody
Federal, State, and Local Resources
The U.S. Government
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, providing nearly $2 trillion of support to families and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act includes, but is not limited to, direct payments to millions of Americans, expansion of unemployment benefits, a lending program for small businesses, as well as billions in support for the healthcare industry. See key takeaways here.
The U.S. Small Business Administration
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established by the CARES Act, provides $349 billion in loan funding to small businesses. It is being implemented by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with support from the Department of the Treasury. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. On April 24, 2020, Congress approved an additional $310 billion in funding to restore the PPP.
Below are helpful guides prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
- Guide to Small Business Emergency Loans (PPP)
- Guide to Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
- Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness
On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which enacts changes to the PPP allowing businesses more flexibility in how they use their loan funds. See our legal alert summarizing the changes here.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” and the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.” Both laws apply to public agencies and employers with fewer than 500 employees. The laws expire on December 31, 2020. Please refer to our legal alert summarizing both laws here.
The week of March 23, 2020, the DOL issued a Questions and Answers web page to provide additional guidance about the FFCRA. The new guidance addresses a variety of topics including how the FFCRA applies to remote working, worksite closures, intermittent leave, reduction of hours, and furloughs. The DOL continues to provide additional guidance and updates so we encourage people to visit their Questions and Answers web page frequently. The DOL also issued two fact sheets, one for employees and one for employers. On March 25, 2020, the DOL issued the “Employee Rights” poster (pdf), which employers are required to post and distribute to employees working remotely and a list of FAQs about notice requirements.
The State of California
On March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, directing all Californians to stay home, except as necessary to “maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.” A copy of that Order (pdf), along with a list of FAQs and a list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (pdf) are available on the State’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website. You can access our legal alerts on this topic here.
On June 18, 2020, Governor Newsom announced a statewide order requiring Californians to wear face coverings in “high-risk” settings to battle the spread of the coronavirus. Learn more about guidance and list of limited exceptions here.
A list of additional orders and actions taken by Governor Gavin Newsom to combat the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
The City of Sacramento
The City recently created a web page with local, state, and federal information and resources relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is available here.
The Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce
The Metro Chamber is in daily talks with local, county, state, and federal partners advocating for the resources we need to support employees, businesses, and families through these dynamically changing times. In response, they’ve created the Coronavirus Rapid Response Hub. On this site, you will find rapid response resources for both employers and employees, as well as a hub of financial resources and a hub of local, county, state, and federal resources related to COVID-19. The website will be updated on an on-going basis as new information and resources become available.