Important COVID-19 Updates

Dear Clients and Friends!

During these unprecedented times, we are committed to providing you with regular updates on how you and your business can best navigate legal issues which are arising daily from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are “virtually here,” diligently working around the clock and accessible to support your needs!

This is our dedicated section on our website where you will be able to access important COVID-19 updates. Along the right hand column you will find links to prior alerts and newsletters. This page can also be easily accessed from our homepage at www.darslaw.com.

We hope that you are able to make the best of these difficult and uneasy times. Please know we are prepared to do what we can to help support you, our friends, clients and colleagues, to overcome the challenges during this period of uncertainty and disruption. Our thoughts are with the individuals and communities that have been directly impacted by the virus. Please stay safe and healthy.

Very truly yours,

Paul G. Skalny, Managing Director

COVID-19: The Employer's Guide To Returning to the Workplace

As employers begin to consider what a return to the workplace might look like, there are a myriad of issues to ponder. To assist you with this process, we are pleased to provide you with COVID-19: The Employer's Guide to Returning to the Workplace. In this publication, we provide some best practices for you to consider as you face these unprecedented times and as you begin to resume normal business activities.

You may download a copy by clicking here or on the image to the left.

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

On December 31, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will expire but the recently signed federal COVID-19 stimulus bill extends the FFCRA payroll tax credits through March 31, 2021. Although employers will not be required to provide employees with paid sick or family leave after December 31, 2020, if they choose to allow employees to take leave for a COVID-19 related reason under the FFCRA framework between January 1 and March 31, 2021, they may still claim the payroll tax credit.  Employers should review their FFCRA and leave policies and communicate all COVID-19 leave options to employees moving into 2021.

Paycheck Protection Program Updates

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST ROUND OF PPP LOANS

Following months of negotiation, on December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.  The mammoth bill, which stretches to over 5,500 pages, expands on the relief provided by the CARES Act and includes many provisions aimed to provide additional relief for those impacted by COVID-19 and to stimulate the economy.  This update focuses on an important component of the new Act, the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  The changes to the PPP program authorizes a new round of loans, and contains changes impacting both new and existing borrowers.

As you recall, the initial round of PPP loans authorized by the CARES Act quickly ran out of funding, while a second round of loans was available until August 8, 2020.  The new Act expands the program again, providing approximately $284 billion for a third round of PPP loans which may be applied for until March 31, 2021.  Borrowers who have already received a PPP loan can apply for a second loan of up to $300 million as long as they have 300 employees or less and can show gross receipts in any calendar quarter of 2020 that are at least 25% less than the same quarter in 2019.  However, borrowers whose primary business is accommodations and food service that have no more than 300 employees in any physical location are also eligible for these “second draw” loans.  In addition, existing borrowers who returned a portion of the funds but have not yet applied for forgiveness may reapply to receive the maximum allocation. 

Read Full Update Here

clarification regarding loan certifications from the sba

On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued new guidance to address the confusion created by its previous guidance which suggested that the recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans would need to revisit their applications to determine whether they would still be able to certify in good faith that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”  Borrowers who deemed themselves unable to make the certification in good faith had until May 14th to return the funds without consequence.  That date has now been extended to Monday, May 18th.

The new guidance should provide comfort to the recipients of PPP loans of all sizes.  According to the new guidance, any recipient of a loan less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification regarding the necessity of the loan in good faith.  Recipients of loans over $2 million are still likely to face increased scrutiny, but if the SBA determines that the borrower lacked an adequate basis for the required certification, it will notify the borrower.  As long as the borrower repays the loan after receiving notice, the SBA will not pursue any further enforcement activities.

Read Full Update Here

Additional Resources

A list of participating lenders and additional information can be found on www.sba.gov.

Click here to access the application for PPP

Click here to reference important details for borrowers about PPP. 

Expanding Telemedicine During COVID-19

Like almost everything, telemedicine practices have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for social distancing has created an urgent need for healthcare providers and patients to use telemedicine for patient care compared to the traditional person-to-person medical visits. Telemedicine visits reduce the exposure to infections that may be more prevalent if the care is provided in a medical facility. In an effort to facilitate the use of telemedicine for patient care, there have been a number of important federal and state statutes and supplements to regulations to facilitate this type of medical care.

On January 31, 2020, a Public Health Emergency was declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II, effective as of January 27, 2020, to deal with Novel Coronavirus. This was followed by the Executive Order issued by President Trump on March 13, 2020, Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to respond to the Spread of COVID-19. As a result this permitted a number of waivers under Section 1135 and 1115 of the Social Security Act to expand the use of telemedicine.

Read Full Update Here

Updates on Family Law

Economic Impact Payment Guidance on Child Support 

The guidance and Administrative Orders issued by the courts make clear that court orders regarding child support remain enforceable. With that said, if a parent subject to an order to pay child support has been laid off, whether due to the impacts of COVID-19 or for any other reason, that parent can (and should) file a request to modify child support with the appropriate Maryland court. Even though Maryland courts remain closed through June 5, 2020 (at least), and a hearing on a parent’s request to modify child support might not take place for quite some time, by filing a request, in the interim, that parent may be able to obtain a retroactive modification of child support backdating to the date the request was filed. Also, the parent has then “gotten in line” in terms of having his or her case scheduled, as the courts reopen and work through the backlog of cases.

Read Full Update Here

Changes to Family Law Cases in The Court System

The guidance and Administrative Orders issued by the courts make clear that court orders regarding child support remain enforceable. With that said, if a parent subject to an order to pay child support has been laid off, whether due to the impacts of COVID-19 or for any other reason, that parent can (and should) file a request to modify child support with the appropriate Maryland court. Even though Maryland courts remain closed through June 5, 2020 (at least), and a hearing on a parents request to modify child support might not take place for quite some time, by filing a request, in the interim, that parent may be able to obtain a retroactive modification of child support backdating to the date the request was filed. Also, the parent has then gotten in line in terms of having his or her case scheduled, as the courts reopen and work through the backlog of cases. Changes to Family Law Cases in the Court System By an Administrative Order issued April 14, 2020, the closure of Maryland courts has been extended through June 5, 2020. Courts remain restricted to mandatory and emergency operations. 

Read Full Update Here

What To Do When You Receive a Stimulus Check for the Deceased

Millions of Americans have received stimulus checks in the past few weeks based on their 2018 or 2019 income tax returns. However, the IRS clarified last week that if an individual died before receiving his or her payment, the payment must be returned. For married taxpayers who received a joint stimulus check, if one taxpayer is deceased, half of the stimulus check must be returned.

So how do you return the stimulus payment for someone who died before receiving it? If a paper check was mailed to you, there is a box on the envelope you can check to indicate that the taxpayer is deceased. If you threw out the envelope, you can simply write “void” on the back of the check and send it to the appropriate address. More information can be found on the IRS website under Topic A, QA4 (click here)

If the decedent received a direct deposit to a bank account or you already cashed the paper check, you should submit a personal check or money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” to the appropriate address and write “2020EIP” and the social security number of the taxpayer in the memo section. You should also enclose a letter stating that the taxpayer died before receiving the check and that is why you are returning it to the Treasury.

Questions?

We are here to help you get through these challenges.  If you have any questions related to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on you or your business, please contact us directly at covid19answers@darslaw.com.

All of our attorneys are available to help you!

Special Off The Record Alerts

Special End of Year Alert  (12/31)

  • Updates on Latest Round of PPP Loans
  • FFCRA expires December 31st
  • Maryland Minimum Wage Increases
  • Stimulus Checks Received by Deceased

COVID - 19 Alert (5/20)

  • County-by-County Re-Opening
  • SBA Laan Certification Clarification
  • PPP Loan Forgivness Guidance
  • Stimulus Checks Received by Deceased

COVID-19 Alert (5/7)

  • PPP Certification Requirement
  • COVID-19 Employee Retention Credit
  • Loan Forgiveness For Business Owners
  • U.S. Supreme Court Updates
  • Expanding Telemedicine During COVID-19
  • Economic Impact Payment Guidance On Child Support

COVID-19 Alert (4/17)

  • The Main Street Lending Program
  • Updates from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office 
  • Updates on Court Operations
  • Employment Updates: OSHA & FFCRA Regulations
  • Community Association & Stay-At-Home Orders
  • Changes to Family Law Cases in the Court System
  • Witnessing & Electronic Signing of Estate Planning Documents

COVID-19 Alert (4/1)

  • Can Phantom Stock Supplement Reduced Wages?
  • Updates on COVID-19 Employment & Labor Issues
  • Helpful Tips to Maintain Privacy & Security
  • Reducing Stress While Working From Home
  • "Authorization to Work" Letter 
  • Topics to Consider When Reviewing Your Estate Plan
  • Remote Notarization

COVID-19 Religious Org. Alert (4/1)

COVID-19 Family Law Alert (3/26)

COVID-19 Alert (3/23)

  • Family First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Is Your Business Essential?

COVID-19 Alert (3/16)

  • Force Majeure Clauses & Other Updates for Business Owners
  • Establishing Standards of Care for Businesses
  • Commerial Lease Considerations
  • Employment & Labor Issues
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Dual-Household Families
  • How Does COVID-19 Effect Condo/HOA Open Meeting Requirements?

Updates on Employment & Labor Issues

There continue to be significant labor and employment-related issues arising from The Family First Coronavirus Response Act, the CARES Act, and related laws and regulations.

Read Full Update Here