The response to COVID-19 has state and federal authorities making swift and unprecedented changes to current laws, drafting new laws and making exceptions everywhere in between. This leaves employers, business leaders and carriers scrambling. Thompson Coe’s COVID-19 Response Team is here to guide businesses, employers and carriers through understanding their obligations and strategies during this uncertain time, as well as keeping them informed of the most recent developments. We have compiled a catalog of resources including news alerts, recorded webinars, issues for consideration, and key attorney contacts.
Labor and Employment
New FFCRA Guidance from the Department of Labor - Client Alert
Employers May Test Employees for COVID-19 - Client Alert
Rollout of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation - Client Alert
Congress Expands Unemployment Benefits Under the CARES ACT - Client Alert
DOL Clarifies The Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Client Alert
DOL Guidance on Paid Leave Law - Client Alert
Congress Passes the Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Client Alert
EMERGENCY HR TIP: Form I-9 in-person review suspended - Client Alert
The Coronavirus - Podcast
Coronavirus Primer - Client Alert
Coronavirus Q&A - Client Alert
Covid-19 and Its Impact on Homeowners’ Property Claims - Client Alert
Q&A From Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Webinar - Publication
Texas: First Lawsuit Filed Over Pandemic Event Endorsement - Client Alert
General Liability/Catastrophic Injury
Data Privacy and Cyber Security
On a state-wide basis, pursuant to the Governor’s April 27, 2020 Order, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls are permitted to reopen on Friday, May 1, but must limit their capacity to 25% of their listed occupancy. Food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings within shopping malls must remain closed.
Museums and libraries may open under the same 25% occupancy limitation, but interactive areas of museums must remain closed. State libraries and museums will open by May 1, and local public museums and libraries may reopen only if permitted by the local government. Single-person offices may reopen as well.
Churches and places of worship remain open. Outdoor sports are allowed to resume so long as no more than four participants are playing together at one time. Certain social distancing practices must also be followed. Local government operations, including county and municipal government operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, may reopen as determined by the local government.
Essential services such as farmers and ranchers, grocery and drug stores, banks, and gas stations will continue to operate under this order. Public swimming pools, bars, gyms, cosmetology salons, massage establishments, interactive amusement venues, such as bowling alleys and video arcades, and tattoo and piercing studios will remain closed through Phase I. Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities must remain closed to visitors unless to provide critical assistance.
More details on the order as outlined by the Governor’s office can be found here.
Several announcements have been made since the issuance of this order, including an announcement on May 18, 2020 allowing restaurants to increase capacity to 50% and the reopening of bars at 25% capacity. A full and updated list of businesses the Governor has approved for reopening can be found on the Governor’s Open Texas website.
All of the above is subject to the more restrictive orders that may have been entered by the various cities and counties around the state. We recommend clients comply with city and county orders as well, to the extent they are more restrictive.
Dallas County/City Of Dallas
City of Austin/Travis County
On May 8, 2020, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt issued a stay-at-home order “consistent with and guidance beyond” the Governor’s order. The Travis County order also purports to apply to cities within its borders such as the City of Austin. This order applies through June 15, 2020.
City of Houston/Harris County
Harris County’s most recently amended Stay Home, Work Safe Order is available here. Harris County’s current order is effective through at least May 20, 2020. Harris County has also issued an Order on Use of Face Covering, which order is effective at least through May 26, 2020. Additional information for Harris County is available here.
City of San Antonio/Bexar County
June 30, 2020, Bexar County has issued a new order requiring all commercial entities to: (1) screen all employees and visitors with questions before they can enter, (2) conduct temperature checks at the door (of both customers and employees) for indoor facilities, and (3) require face coverings where six feet of separation is not feasible. https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/files/assets/public/files/about/4th-addendum-to-the-8th-declaration-of-public-health-emergency.pdf
Bexar County’s Executive Order NW-07 will be in effect through May 19, 2020 unless extended, modified or terminated early by the County Judge. According to the County, the order is consistent with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order and mandates issued by the City of San Antonio. More information on Bexar County’s actions may be found here.
As of Friday, May 15, Louisiana entered Phase One of reopening, easing a number of restrictions and allowing for the reopening of certain businesses. Information concerning Phase One can be found here: https://gov.louisiana.gov/assets/Proclamations/2020/58-JBE-2020.pdf
As of Saturday, May 16, New Orleans’s Mayor similarly eased certain restrictions, subject to additional guidelines. Information concerning New Orleans guidelines for phased reopening can be found here.
May 15, 2020 - Minnesota’s Shelter-In-Place Order expires at midnight on Monday, May 18th. However, this does not mean Minnesota is returning to business as usual. In preparing for the expiration of the order, on May 13 Governor Tim Walz issued a series of executive orders. First, he extended the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency until June 12, 2020. He also issued an order protecting high risk Minnesotans, an order outlining the requirements and precautions employers must take before inviting their employees and customers back into their workplaces, and an order protecting employees who complain of unsafe working conditions and qualified disabled employees who need COVID-19-related accommodations. Here is a breakdown of how the new executive orders will affect Minnesota employers.
The May 7, 2020 Stay at Home Order is technically still in effect in California, available at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/SHO%20Order%205-7-2020.pdf
That said, the state has begun Stage 2 of its reopening plan, which contemplates the gradual opening of certain lower-risk workplaces (curbside service retail, child care, manufacturing & logistics). That said, California has deferred the specific timetables to local jurisdictions to determine when to move further ahead in Stage 2. As of now, Los Angeles is not one of the counties that has met the criteria necessary to increase the pace at which they advance through Stage 2.
A list of California counties that fall into the accelerated Stage 2 process is here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/County_Variance_Attestation_Form.aspx