Please read today’s entry in our daily digest designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business.
• Please don’t forget our webinar today. More than 400 folks are registered and will be online with us today at 11:30. Please register here.
• As of yesterday afternoon, the U.S. has more than 10,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 154 COVID-19 related deaths.
• Only a day after passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Senator Mitch McConnell released his proposed third relief bill aimed at putting money directly into Americans’ pockets and providing forgivable bridge loans to small businesses. This is to help small businesses keep their doors open and employees on payroll during this crisis.
o Since the FFCRA was just passed and the impact it will have on small businesses will be huge, Senator McConnell wants this third relief bill to be passed quickly. Democrats will review this bill and make changes, but this will likely be passed in the next few weeks. However, this is not something your business should rely on for financial stability. The final product could look drastically different than it does today. Further, there is nothing preventing businesses that believe they will be short on cash flow for the next few weeks from talking to their local bank now to seek a business loan.
• Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered that all restaurants, bars, nightclubs, private social clubs, fitness centers, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and arcades within the city limits be closed starting today, March 20, 2020. Restaurants are allowed to stay open to provide delivery, takeout, or drive-through service. But dining areas must remain closed at this time.
• North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a similar executive order yesterday closing all restaurants and bars and simultaneously expanding unemployment insurance benefits for employees affected by COVID-19.
o As the Atlanta and North Carolina orders indicate, the trend appears to be to shut down public social gathering spaces. If your business is public facing and you have not prepared for the possibility of shutting down for a few weeks, you should plan accordingly by letting your employees know of the possibility and the unemployment benefits they may expect. Clear, frank communication is the rule.
o Also, check your state’s unemployment requirements. Like North Carolina, states are expanding their unemployment benefits to combat COVID-19 panic. Earlier this week, Georgia passed a rule requiring employers to electronically file unemployment claims on behalf of their employees for any reduction in hours due to COVID-19. If you have questions regarding unemployment insurance benefits, please give us a call.
o Be mindful of business closure laws like WARN and state analogs. You may be required to provide certain notifications to labor authorities; compliance is not that difficult but easily overlooked.
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 and your business, please do not hesitate to call us at 404-531-2341 or set up an appointment on one of our attorneys’ Calendly.
Stanton Law is glad to be one of your resources for daily updates on COVID-19’s effect on your business. Just contact your experienced Atlanta employment attorneys at 404-531-2341 or online.