Coronavirus Legal Response Team & Resource Center

Wilentz lawyers can help you to address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on your business and life.

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Whether Business or Personal, We've Got You Covered

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve rapidly, causing disruption and volatility to businesses, families, governments, educational pursuits, and economies worldwide. We know that business clients face unprecedented challenges with respect to essential operating concerns, long-term risk assessment, and complex employee health and safety issues. Personal services clients are impacted by health, economical, educational, childcare, and related concerns. To increase our value and improve client outreach, Wilentz has activated the Wilentz Coronovirus Legal Response Team & Resource Center.  As the pandemic endures it requires unprecedented adaptation to every area of life, and we continue to update our resources to meet our clients’ needs, as Wilentz has done for 100 years.

Our multidisciplinary response team is working with clients to withstand the impact on their businesses and to guide their efforts to reopen, restore, and prosper. In addition, Wilentz is tracking developments and sharing topical information and our latest thinking through this Resource Center.  We have created over 70 pertinent blog posts, organized by topical area of law, dedicated to COVID-19 related developments. Use the sign up form on the right to receive future alerts directly to your inbox. View all COVID-19 Wilentz publications here.

The CARES Act, signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020, included a program to provide immediate cash flow relief to small businesses which are suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic (the “Paycheck Protection Program”).  The relief was provided through loans intended to bridge an employer’s future, short-term cash flow demands through June 30, 2020, which has been extended to December 31, 2020 following the June 5th passage of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (“PPP Flexibility Act”).  In return for an employer’s general continued employment of workers and sustained wage levels through the covered period (the earlier of 24 weeks from loan origination or December 31, 2020) and compliance with the updated expenditure rules, the loan is eligible for forgiveness.

The Paycheck Protection Program is an approximate $659 billion federal appropriation designed to provide that cash-flow bridge.  Through this program, small businesses (generally, those with no more than 500 employees) may apply for a federal loan to fund between eight and twenty four weeks of certain operating costs.  The loans are federally guaranteed and, under certain circumstances, are eligible to be forgiven.  The loans are being administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and funded by SBA certified lenders.

Wilentz attorneys have reviewed the Paycheck Protection Program legislation, the PPP Flexibility Act, and the updates and related guidance from the IRS and the SBA in detail and are available to discuss how your business may qualify.  We are working with many of our business clients to address their questions and explore financing possibilities for their businesses, including:

  • During which period of time must I use my Paycheck Protection Loan (PPP) in order to qualify for forgiveness?
  • What is the result to the Borrower if less than 60% of the Borrower’s PPP loan proceeds are used for payroll costs?
  • What is the impact to forgiveness if a Borrower finds that an employee is either unable or unwilling to return to work? 
  • Is a Borrower able to terminate employees for cause during the covered period without reducing forgiveness?  What if the Borrower chooses not to, or is unable to, replace such employees?
  • When must a Borrower apply to their lender for forgiveness?
  • For PPP loan amounts that are not forgiven, what are the repayment terms a Borrower can expect?
  • Can a Borrower defer repayment of PPP loan amounts that are not forgiven?
  • Can a Borrower defer its employer portion of payroll taxes even if the Borrower has received partial or full forgiveness of a PPP loan?

Alerts and Publications:

In light of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are working with employers to help them address new challenges they are facing, especially those connected to the health and safety of their employees, restarting their operations, and navigating a new, rapidly evolving regulatory landscape.

We are fielding and advising on a range of situations and challenges, including:

  • Should employers test for COVID-19?
  • What steps should an employer take if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
  • How do employers bring workers back safely?
  • What options are available for reducing the workforce?
  • As an employer, am I eligible for tax credits or social security tax deferral?
  • What policies should be adopted and communicated to comply with new coronavirus-related reforms?
  • If your employee is out sick or caring for a family member, can and how does the employee get paid and must the employer hold the employee’s job?
  • Do you have a notice obligation under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to provide 60 days advance notice to your employees prior to a plant closing or mass layoff resulting from unforeseeable business circumstances?
  • What can you do about your employees’ health insurance?

As legislation continues to be issued and these and other concerns continue to unfold, we encourage you to subscribe to our legal alerts to get new notifications sent directly to your inbox. If you have a pressing concern, contact Tracy Armstrong.

Alerts and Publications:

In light of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are working with companies to help them address the challenges they are facing, especially those connected to their continuing operations. We are fielding and advising on a range of situations and challenges, including:

  • Complying with contractual obligations of the business during the pandemic
  • Managing cash flow, liquidity and debt-related questions
  • Retaining, laying off and furloughing of staff
  • Applying for, and complying with the requirements of, Federal and State loan and grant programs, including obtaining loan forgiveness under the Payroll Protection Program
  • Applying health care guidance to employment-related questions, such as how do employers bring workers back safely and steps an employer should take if an employee tests positive for COVID-19
  • Re-opening businesses in compliance with various mandates

Wilentz’s multi-disciplinary approach enables our attorneys to provide guidance to our clients on all areas of law, including employment, insurance, litigation, real estate and banking. Similarly, Wilentz attorneys pride themselves in staying current on all relevant Federal and State Executive Orders and Guidances.

Alerts and Publications:

We are working closely with our healthcare clients to keep abreast of available resources affecting the delivery of medical care during this outbreak. We are providing guidance on numerous questions challenging healthcare professionals in their efforts to respond to their patients’ needs, including:

  • What are the requirements and legal concerns for re-opening my practice?
  • How to provide telemedicine to serve patients during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • How do the HIPAA rules impact the practice of medicine in novel ways during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • What are the out-of-state licensing rules applicable to treatment during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • How will Medicare and Medicaid reimburse for treatment during the coronavirus outbreak? How are commercial payors reimbursing? What will patients be required to pay?
  • What funding sources are available to healthcare providers affected by COVID-19?
  • What are the requirements for compliance with the HHS Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions?
  • How do the OIG waivers available during COVID-19 affect my practice?
  • What are the restrictions for providing elective surgeries?

Alerts and Publications:

In light of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are working with clients to help them address the challenges they are now facing on a daily basis, some of which they never imagined would ever happen.

We are fielding questions and advising on a range of situations and challenges, including:

  • Are you entitled to business interruption insurance?
  • Are you entitled to rent abatement, or conversely, can your tenant stop paying rent?
  • How do you address defaulting on agreements?
  • Any number of issues concerning work stoppage (from employment issues to addressing vendors/ creditors)
  • Potential dissolution
  • Partnership and shareholder disputes

Alerts and Publications:

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and governmental response pertaining to social gathering restrictions, business closures, travel bans and a general economic downturn, we are working with financial institutions and business owners to help them address the challenges in such diverse business sectors, including construction, distribution, franchises, healthcare, lodging, hospitality, manufacturing, real estate, restaurants, retail, service providers, technology and transportation.

We are fielding and advising on a wide range of situations and challenges from a lender’s and a borrower’s perspective, including:

  • What efforts can be taken to continue business operations and address liquidity and cash-flow issues?
  • What proactive steps can be taken to right-size a business?
  • Would a loan restructuring, amendment, or forbearance be the appropriate course of action?
  • Does the current situation affect the collateral or security interests or the parties’ obligations under the credit facility documents?
  • Is a financial restructuring option available under the auspices of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code?
  • Does a borrower as a vendor or trade creditor, have rights regarding delivery of goods “in-transit” or other collection issues?
  • How proactive should discussions between the lender and the borrower be?
  • Which businesses have a notice obligation under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to provide advance notice prior to a plant closing or mass layoff resulting from unforeseeable business circumstances?

Alerts and Publications:

In response to the continued disruption to the economy and the commercial real estate market resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, we are advising clients concerning the impact on existing leasing relationships, pending contracts and ongoing transactions.  While many of the earliest questions were similar in nature (e.g., force majeure, business interruption, quiet enjoyment) recent questions have become more varied as businesses face complex decisions as they make plans to return to work. 

We are still emphasizing the need to exercise caution as our clients plan for a partially reopened economy and the prospects of a potential resurgence of the coronavirus.  The response of our local, state and federal governments to the pandemic and its economic impact is ongoing and we are mindful that future government actions could influence loss mitigation strategies. 

We are mostly experiencing cooperation and understanding in our ongoing negotiations on behalf of clients.  Landlords and tenants are working together to restructure short and medium term rent obligations based on the new economic realities.  In the majority of cases, both landlords and tenants accept the need to find mutually acceptable compromises that both respect existing obligations and permit businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic to recover. 

When the pandemic hit US markets, economic uncertainty caused commercial real estate acquisition activity to slow.  Generally speaking, transactions that are proceeding include extended timetables for due diligence, approvals and the closing of title.  With plans for restarting the economy at the forefront of everyone’s minds, transactional and banking activity has seen an uptick.  New leasing activity tracks this trend, however, modifications continue to be a focus for landlords and tenants bound by existing leases.

At Wilentz, we emphasize the need for a measured reaction to the coronavirus pandemic that factors in our current reality and strategic planning for the future.  Regardless of where our clients fit into the commercial real estate community, thoughtful planning and preparation is essential and we will continue to work one-on-one with our clients to anticipate and plan for the future.

Since the coronavirus impact extends beyond real estate holdings and contractual relationships, our multi-disciplinary approach has enabled us to provide important guidance to our real estate clients on other impacts to their business such as employment, insurance and banking.  Outside of the box thinking has never been needed more, and our lawyers are helping our clients to withstand and plan for a rapidly evolving and unprecedented environment.

Alerts and Publications:

Operating Your Pharmacy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In light of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are working with pharmacies to help them address the challenges they are facing, especially those connected to their continuing operations.

We are fielding and advising on a range of situations and challenges, including:

  • Requesting the Board of Pharmacy for waivers, including for remote processing and shortening hours
  • Defending pharmacies alleged to be price gouging for supplies, including face masks and hand sanitizer
  • Requesting extensions in ongoing audits and regulatory investigations due the pharmacies not being able to obtain data and information due to coronavirus

Alerts and Publications:

Resources:

In these difficult and uncertain times, we want to let you know that we are here for our estate planning clients and are ready to address any of your concerns. In thinking about whether your current documents still meet your needs, you may wish to consider:     

  • Does my Power of Attorney name those persons who I want and trust to handle my finances (including check-writing) should I become too ill to handle them myself?
  • Does my Health Care Power of Attorney name the person I want and trust to make health care decisions for me in the event that I am unable to make them for myself?
  • Does my Living Will correctly describe my choices and intentions with respect to the implementation or withdrawal of life-sustaining measures?
  • Does my Last Will and Testament name the persons I want to serve as executor and trustee (and as alternate executors and trustees) and are those persons named as beneficiaries still the persons I want to receive my estate (and in the proportions and under the terms and conditions set forth in the Will)?
  • Should I give a copy of the Power of Attorney to my agent, or at least keep it handy to give to my agent should the need arise?
  • Should I give a copy of my Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will to the person I named as my health care proxy? 
  • Do my family members know where the original of my Will is located?

Call us with estate-related questions or concerns. 

Alerts & Publications:

In light of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we are facing, our Family Law team is here to help answer your questions and provide legal support throughout this crisis.

We are fielding questions that include:

  • How to navigate custody and parenting time plan during this time?
  • Can I still get divorced during this time?
  • How is the divorce process different during this time?
  • What happens if I am the victim of a domestic violence incident during this time?
  • How do I navigate a quarantine with my spouse?

We understand that the divorce can be emotional and difficult for many and recognize that this outbreak is likely to exacerbate divorce situations with new stressors. Call on us for assistance and be assured we will move your case forward as efficiently as possible.

Alerts and Publications:

During this public health crisis, the attention of law enforcement authorities may be diverted, at least temporarily, from focusing on white collar investigations and prosecutions. Nevertheless, violations of law associated with the COVID-19 pandemic will not go unnoticed.

At Wilentz, we continue to help our clients address a number of new potential risks arising from this pandemic, and make adjustments to respond to changing business needs and governmentally issued and enforced restrictions now in place.

Please call any member of our criminal team with concerns or issues you may have arising from this health crisis.

Alerts and Publications:

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