New York Issues Updated Guidance on the Definition of “Essential Business” and “Non-Essential Business”

On April 9, the Governor issued and updated Executive Order (202.6) to provide further guidance on determining whether a business is “Essential” (and thereby permitted to operate) or “Non-Essential” (and, thereby NOT permitted to operate).

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Brad Molotsky, please visit the Duane Morris Project Development/Infrastructure/P3 Blog.

Crisis Standards of Care Guidelines to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since March 13, 2020, when President Trump declared a national state of emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have been in a healthcare crisis. The United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been plagued by increasing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), supplies, beds and physicians necessary to care for COVID-19 patients. In addition, drastic patient surges, limited numbers of life-saving ventilators and healthcare providers who have been working tirelessly for weeks in a constant state of emergency all contribute to an extremely strained health system. Not only do more and more patients need care each day, healthcare providers must work quickly to diagnose, triage and treat patients, as well as make difficult decisions on how ventilators are assigned and reassigned. And we have yet to hit the anticipated spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Accordingly, states have either implemented or developed Crisis Standards of Care (CSC). A CSC is triggered when healthcare systems are so overwhelmed by a pervasive or catastrophic public health event, such as COVID-19, that it is impossible for them to provide the normal, or standard, level of care to patients. Instead of meeting the standard of care to avoid liability, providers must now meet the crisis standards of care as set-forth on a statewide basis or adapted by individual facilities.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Cannabis Industry and State Regulators Forced by COVID-19 to Evaluate and Improve Methods of Cannabis Delivery and Access

Cannabis operators, like all other businesses, are searching for new ways to reach their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis businesses have been generally treated as “essential” under the various state orders that have otherwise closed businesses and ordered people to stay at home. Even though they have been permitted to operate, it is not business-as-usual for these operators as they grapple with CDC workplace restrictions and guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As a result of these restrictions, state regulators and cannabis business have begun implementing new policies and procedures such as curbside pick-up, expanded delivery zones and increased use of contactless payment methods. While these changes are viewed as temporary, if properly implemented, cannabis businesses may be able to show regulators that these expanded policies should continue after the crisis has passed. This difficult time presents an opportunity for cannabis retailers to expand their reach and help bolster support for more online ordering, home delivery and other delivery methods.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Justin A. SantarosaArletta BussiereJoe Pangaro and Justin Stern, which contains a summary of how several states have handled the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the operations of cannabis businesses during the stay-at-home orders, please visit the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Blog.

New York State Halts Nonessential Construction

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, many states are implementing increasingly strict measures to prevent further spread of the virus. These measures include travel restrictions, extended school closures and requirements that individuals stay at home except as necessary to provide certain essential business and government services. Until recently, New York state considered construction to be an essential business, as outlined in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6.

In the wake of pressure from various labor organizations and community groups, however, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.13, dated March 29, 2020.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Nonessential New York State Court Litigation Put on Hold in Response to COVID-19

On March 22, 2020, New York’s Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts issued Administrative Order AO/78/20 providing that, until further notice, no filings―paper or electronic―would be accepted by New York courts, except in “essential matters.” This order prohibits any new cases from being filed―and any open cases from going forward―unless they fit the narrow list of “essential matters” annexed to the Administrative Order. This means that, absent a compelling showing of a need for emergency relief such as an injunction, routine business litigations―including breach of contract, employment disputes, corporate disputes, etc.―are on hold indefinitely. The court system has since clarified that, consistent with a prior Administrative Order, discovery can continue in ongoing cases where the parties agree that the discovery will not present any health concerns.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Award Contracts to Convert Existing Buildings into ICU-like COVID-19 Treatment Facilities, Starting in New York

During a press conference on March 20, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) discussed plans to assist state-level COVID-19 relief efforts. USACE support will include the conversion of existing, underutilized buildings such as hotels, college dormitories and potentially large spaces into ICU-like treatment facilities. Specifically, state governments will nominate and lease facilities, USACE will award construction contracts for building modifications, FEMA and/or HHS will provide necessary supplies, and then state governments will provide staffing.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

New York’s New Job Protected Paid Leave Law – When Does It Apply and How Does It Tie Together with the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

On March 18, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill 8091 (the Act), which guarantees certain leave, benefits and job protections to employees affected by COVID-19, effective immediately. The law affects employment laws regarding sick leave; disability benefits and paid family leave; and job protections.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert summarizing and explaining the changes to the law, please visit the  firm website.