Aug 7, 2020

Executive Order Creating a Buy American Requirement for Pharmaceuticals and PPE

PPE Executive Order

On August 6, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order to boost domestic production of pharmaceuticals, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, and personal protective equipment (PPE), and declaring the reduction of dependence on foreign manufacturers of these products to be “critical” to the nation. The Executive Order provides: 1.    Federal agencies are required to purchase Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures, and Critical Inputs that are produced in the United States; 2.    The FDA is required to identify regulations that can be streamlined to eliminate barriers to domestic production of these products. The Executive Order charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services with prioritizing production of… Read more

Aug 6, 2020

Governor Kemp Signs Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act

Business Safety

On August 5, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp signed the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act”, Senate Bill (SB) 359.  The Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act limits liability for certain COVID-19 related tort claims. The Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act generally provides immunity to healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, entities (including businesses, churches and schools), and individuals for certain COVID-19 related tort claims that are not the result of “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.”  COVID-19 related tort claims covered by the law include certain causes of action based on: The… Read more

Aug 4, 2020

Main Street Lending Program – Profit and Nonprofit Organizations – Updates August 2020

Main St Loan Program

A lot has happened since we last wrote our alert on the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program (MSLP).  Most importantly, the program has officially launched and borrowers have been submitting applications for Main Street Lending Program Loans from eligible lenders. Listing of Eligible Lenders The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston published a state-by-state listing of lenders participating in MSLP who are currently accepting applications from new business customers which can be accessed by clicking this link and entering the State where the lender is located, although many lenders are accepting applications from borrowers located outside their immediate geographic area. … Read more

Jul 28, 2020

OSHA Workplace Injury Reporting Requirements: Relaxing the Rules for COVID Reporting

OSHA Workplace Reporting

As businesses begin to reopen with rising infection rates in many states, it is inevitable that employers will have incidents of COVID infection in the workplace even when best management practices and safety protocols are observed.  As a general rule, infectious disease transmission is not a reportable workplace injury for purposes of OSHA recordkeeping and reporting requirements; however, COVID infection is being treated as a recordable injury where the infection is determined to be work-related. Determining work relatedness can present challenges to an employer in a pandemic environment where the source of the infection may not be readily apparent.  In… Read more

Jul 28, 2020

DOS Clarifies National Interest Exception to COVID-19 Travel Ban for Travelers from Schengen Countries, United Kingdom and Ireland

COVID Travel Ban

Earlier this year, President Trump signed a series of presidential proclamations banning the entry of foreign nationals who were present in China, Iran, countries in the Schengen area, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Brazil in the 14 days preceding their entry into the United States, with limited exceptions. These exceptions include a general National Interest Exception (NIE) for impacted travelers who could show that their entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Department of State (DOS) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Until recently, there was almost no guidance on how to qualify for… Read more

Jul 24, 2020

HHS Update on Reporting Requirements for Recipients of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds

HHS Reporting

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week shared the first specific information on reporting requirements for recipients of provider relief funds authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. For more information, click here. HHS has been clear that recipients receiving one or more payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate from the Provider Relief Fund will be required to submit reports to HHS on how the funds have been expended; however, prior HHS guidance has only indicated that the required reports will be required to… Read more

Jul 20, 2020

United States Department of Labor Introduces New FMLA Forms and Guidance, Seeks Feedback on FMLA Regulations

New FMLA Forms

Last week, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) introduced new standard forms for employers to use when employees seek and use leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). These new forms come after the DOL announced it planned to update the FMLA forms in August 2019. The forms, which include a designation notice and notice of eligibility of rights and responsibilities, as well as certification forms for various FMLA-eligible leaves, are free to access on the DOL’s website. The use of the forms is optional, but employers should consider using these forms because the DOL-provided forms… Read more

Jul 13, 2020

Restrictions on Use of Communications Products from Chinese Companies

Restrictive Communication

Companies working for or with the United States Government face new restrictions on the use of communications and electronic equipment produced by companies with ties to China.  Effective August 13, 2020, no executive agency of the United States Government may “enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) with an entity that uses any equipment, system or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as a critical technology as part of any system.”  (Section 889(a)(1)(B), National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019). While the implementing regulations… Read more

Jul 9, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Employers’ Religious Exemptions from the ACA Contraceptive Mandate

New ACA Bill

In a 7-2 decision, the U.S Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration rule allowing employers to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage in their group health plans on moral or religious grounds. This rule, most recently issued in November 2018, expanded the types of employers who can claim this exemption, including for the first time, publicly traded companies and employers who opt-out on general moral grounds. Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the court’s five conservatives in the majority.  Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, stated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives the Department of Health and… Read more

Jul 8, 2020

Main Street Lending Program Update 07/06/20: Boston Fed Announces Main Street Lending Program is Fully Operational, Open for Purchases of 95% Participations in Main Street Program Loans

Federal Reserve Lending

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on Monday, announced on July 6, 2020 that the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) is now fully operational and ready to purchase participations in eligible loans that are submitted to the program by registered lenders. Institutions participating in the MSLP may now submit qualifying loans for the Fed to purchase. The Fed will buy up to 95% of each loan submitted. The Federal Reserve encourages lenders to begin submitting qualifying loans. “This is an important milestone for the Main Street program,” said Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, which is administering… Read more