COVID-19 LATEST UPDATES

COVID-19 Latest Updates on Essential Businesses Orders.

We will continue to update as we collect more information.

LAST UPDATED: 04/01/2020

ESSENTIAL
BUSINESSES
ORDERS

Alaska
Arizona
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Hawaii
Indiana
Kansas
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Carolina
Oklahoma
Oregon

The Governor issued the EO in a more narrow way compared to other states. The only businesses she is closing down are listed below. The rest of businesses are allowed to continue operations as long as they comply with certain telework and social distancing requirements listed on page 5.

Closed businesses: Amusement parks; aquariums; arcades; art galleries (to the extent that they are open without appointment); barber shops and hair salons; bowling alleys; cosmetic stores; dance studios; esthetician practices; fraternal organization facilities; furniture stores; gyms and fitness studios (including climbing gyms); hookah bars; indoor and outdoor malls (i.e., all portions of a retail complex containing stores and restaurants in a single area); indoor party places (including jumping gyms and laser tag); jewelry shops and boutiques (unless they provide goods exclusively through pick-up or delivery services); medical spas; facial spas; day spas; and non-medical massage therapy services; museums; nail and tanning salons; non-tribal card rooms; skating rinks; senior activity centers; ski resorts; social and private clubs; tattoo/piercing parlors; tennis clubs; theaters; yoga studios; and youth clubs.

Oregon
Rhode Island
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming

ARA UPDATES

April 1, 2020
  • An insurance company released guidance for sanitizing vehicles on a Facebook page. Nationwide told its direct repair program facilities that it would reimburse without documentation for “1.0 labor hour and $25 for materials” to sanitize vehicles. Their posting is: https://www.facebook.com/collisionhubpage/photos/a.86415689425/10157401882359426/?type=3&theater
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cleaning workplaces are found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfecting-building-facility.html
  • Paid sick, medical and family leave guidelines along with a poster that is required to be posted (see bottom) were issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. The new rules are effective today, with a 30-day good faith non-enforcement provision. An outline of major provisions and poster information is as follows:
    • The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) issued guidance to employers and employees about their respective duties and rights under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which regulates paid sick leave as well as medical and family leave benefits. The main provisions are as follows:
      • A “covered employer” includes a private employer with fewer than 500 employees. A small business with fewer than 50 employees can potentially qualify for an exemption from a leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability “if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern”.
      • Covered employers must provide to all employees 2 weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay if the employee is quarantined or presenting COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting a medical determination.
      • Covered employers must provide 2 weeks of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee cannot work because they are taking care of a sick person or for the care of a child whose day care or school is closed or similar situations as determined by the Secretary’s of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor.
      • Employee that have been employed for at least 30 days are eligible.
      • Covered employers must provide paid expanded medical and family leave at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay for up to an additional 10 weeks if the employee is unable to work due to taking care of a child whose school or day care is closed.
      • DoL stipulates details on several “qualifying reasons for leave” and the duration of leave depending on the reason. (Link to DoL Guidance is at the bottom of this paper.)
      • There is a tax credit for covered employers to qualify for “dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA”. It will also include “the cost of the employer’s health insurance premiums during leave”. This will be available on the Department of the Treasury’s website.
      • Covered employers must conspicuously post a poster alerting employee to provisions of this measure. (Link to this poster is below.) If an employee is working remotely it can be sent to them by email or regular mail. Posters in other languages are being developed.
      • While the new rule is effective on April 1, 2020, there will be a 30-day non-enforcement period “so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act”.

IMPORTANT LINKS:

For employers: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

For details – Questions and Answers: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

FAQ’s: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-poster-questions

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Information Sheet: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20Borrower%20Information%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

For Posters: To obtain notices free of charge, contact the Department’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Alternatively, you may download and print the notice yourself from https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/posters

To apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) apply today at this link below https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

March 30, 2020
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) revised its guidance on “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” and automotive recyclers continue to fall within the guidelines. The earlier version included “Automotive repair and maintenance facilities” and “employees who repair and maintain vehicles…”. The new guidelines state:
    • “Automotive repair, maintenance, and transportation equipment manufacturing and distribution facilities (including those who repair and maintain electric vehicle charging stations)”
    • “Employees who repair and maintain vehicles…”
    • “Workers critical to rental and leasing of vehicles and equipment that facilitate continuity of operations for essential workforces and other essential travel”
    • Once again please remember that this document is for guidance only, but many states and localities have used it as the basis for their own determinations. ARA will be on a call today with a representative of CISA and will update information as more is learned.
  • Two more states have asked businesses to send inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies much like the New Jersey order that was reported on Friday. Colorado’s Governor wrote:
    • “I request that any Colorado business or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilator, respirator and anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services undertake an inventory of such supplies by no later than March 26th, 2020 and prepare to send it to the State of Colorado.”
    • Likewise, Minnesota’s Governor wrote:
      “Any Minnesota business, nonprofit, or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental, construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines (including any consumable accessories to these devices) that are not required for the provision of critical health care services or essential services and were not produced by the organization for the purpose of sale, must undertake an inventory of such supplies no later than March 25, 2020,”
  • The U.S. Department of Labor issued more guidance for both employers and employees on the expanded family and medical leave provisions that were recently enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) goes into effect on April 1, 2020 but has a “temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days”. While ARA is examining the details of the new rules and will be on a business teleconference this week to learn more, click here for an understandable DOL fact sheet explaining the main Employer Paid Leave Requirements: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave/
  • MISCELLANEOUS:
    • President Trump invoked that Defense Production Act (DPA) requiring General Motors to “accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators”.
    • The preeminent Detroit Auto Show has been cancelled and the downtown convention space will be repurposed as a field hospital.
    • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) may not go into effect as planned on June 1, 2020 because of the pandemic. Within this trade deal are provisions related to qualifications for reduced tariffs on vehicles.
March 24, 2020
  • Many ARA members have asked if there are “transit” letters for employees going to and from their “essential” businesses in the case of a state or locality stay-at-home or other business shutdown mandate. ARA was on a call yesterday with a representative of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) discussing the “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce”. While automotive recyclers fit within their definitions of essential workforce under the terms “automotive repair and maintenance facilities” and “employees who repair and maintain vehicles”, the document is only a guidance. States and in some instances, localities determine which businesses are essential and can remain open. But please remember that things are changing on an hourly basis and we are tracking as fast as we can all changes.
  • On the questions of a transit letter, during yesterday’s call with CISA, a question was asked about documentation for workers going to and from essential businesses. The CISA staff said that they were “working through that as we speak”. He suggested that they might provide a template for a letter but there are so many issues that they are working out and promised “more to come” on that issue. There is confusion over this especially because a “federal” letter wouldn’t replace a state letter. Many business groups are exploring how to make this work and have asked states to provide more clarity. Please find a draft template for your employees to carry with them to and from work if you are in a state or locality that has a work stoppage order or “stay at home” order in place. They should also carry business cards if they have them or another form of identification. The letter should be put on your letterhead and you can enter your specific business and employee information in the yellow highlighted parts. Employees have been stopped going to and from their jobs across the country. Click for sample letter.
  • There is still no deal in the U.S. Senate on a third coronavirus relief bill amongst much partisan rancor. Senate Democrats have held up passage with demands for less “slush funding” and have also tied issues to their demands that are not directly related to the current pandemic. A successful vote is still expected today, being brokered by the Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Stay tuned.
  • For small businesses that might need credit during this turbulent health and financial crisis, the Small Business Administration (SBA) “is looking at every option and taking every action to cut red tape to make it easier for small business to stay in business”. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) can give a business up to $2 million. According to EIDL “These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact……. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses.” SBA also allows small businesses to spread out the loan over as long as 30 years dependent on a case-by-case basis. To apply: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
  • In addition, the Federal Reserve announced that they are establishing programs using the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) possibly allowing small and large businesses “to tap new credit”.

MANDATORY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES
(click image to download)

DISCLAIMER

This may not be a complete list and a personal assessment of the any state orders should also be conducted by each member before continuing operations.