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Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Emergency Act and Mayor’s Order 2020-080 on Mask Requirements

On August 13, 2020, the Mayor signed Bill 23-870, the Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (“Act”). The Act will be in effect for 90 days. The Council is separately moving the Act on a temporary basis, which if enacted would be in effect for 225 days after completing congressional review. The Act requires by statute that employers adopt the COVID-19 workplace protections specified in Mayor’s Order 2020-080, prohibits retaliation, and provides for enforcement.

 

Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Emergency Amendment Act of 2020

 

Workplace Protections

  • During the public health emergency, employers in the District must adopt and implement social distancing and worker protection policies to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace that adhere to the requirements of Mayor’s Order 2020-080 and all subsequent Mayor’s Orders.
  • An employer may establish a policy to require an employee who tests positive to report the positive test to the employer. An employer may not disclose the identity of such an employee except to the Department of Health or another D.C. or federal agency responsible for and engaged in contact tracing and the containment of community spread of COVID-19.

 

Retaliation

  • No employer or agent may take adverse employment action against an employee for:
    • Refusing to serve a customer or client, or to work within 6 feet of an individual, who is not complying with the workplace protections;
    • Testing positive for COVID-19, provided that the employee did not physically report to the workplace after receiving a positive test result;
    • Being exposed to someone with COVID-19 and needing to quarantine;
    • Being sick and waiting for a COVID-19 test result;
    • Caring for or seeking to provide care for someone who is sick with COVID-19 symptoms or who is quarantined; or
    • Taking actions to secure any right or protection contained in the Act or to prevent or stop a violation of the Act.
  • An employer may require an employee who has tested positive to refrain from entering the workplace until a medical professional has cleared the employee to return to the workplace or until a period of quarantine recommended by the D.C. Department of Health or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has elapsed.

 

Enforcement

  • The Mayor may enforce the requirements by conducting investigations, holding hearings, and assessing penalties. The Mayor may assess administrative penalties of up to $50 for a violation of the workplace protection requirements and $500 for a violation of the retaliation prohibition.
  • The Attorney General may enforce the requirements by conducting investigations and instituting actions.

 

Procurement and Grants

  • The Chief Procurement Officer is authorized during the public health emergency and for 90 days thereafter to enter into an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (“IDIQ”) contract for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other goods or supplies that permit an entity that is or is similar to a local business enterprise to place orders under the IDIQ contract at the prices specified in the contract.
  • Beginning October 1, 2020, during the public health emergency and subject to the availability of funds, the Mayor may issue grants to eligible small businesses of up to $1,000 for the purchase of or reimbursement for purchases of PPE made on or after August 13, 2020.

 

Mayor’s Order 2020-080: Wearing of Masks in the District of Columbia to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

 

General Mask Requirements

  • Persons must wear a mask in the common areas of apartments, condominiums, and cooperatives.
  • Businesses, office buildings, and other establishments open to members of the public shall post signage on their exterior doors stating that a person may not enter unless the person is wearing a mask.
  • Such establishments must exclude or attempt to eject those who are not wearing masks or who remove their masks.
  • Employers must provide masks to employees.
  • Persons leaving their residences must wear a mask when they are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time.
  • Persons who are operating or a passenger in a taxi or a Transportation Network Company vehicle, or any form of public transit, must wear a mask at all such times.

 

Mask Exceptions

  • A person is a resident or guest in a private home or apartment.
  • A person is actually eating, drinking, or legally smoking.
  • A person is engaged in vigorous outdoor exercise and is maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet from every other person.
  • A person is in the water at a swimming pool.
  • A person is in an enclosed office that no one else is permitted to enter.
  • A person is aged 2 years old or younger.
  • A person is unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability, or is physically unable to remove a mask.
  • A person is giving a speech or broadcast or an audience, provided that no one is within six feet of the speaker.
  • A deaf or hard of hearing person needs to read the lips of a speaker.
  • The equipment required for a job precludes the wearing of a mask and the person is wearing that equipment, or when wearing a mask would endanger public safety.
  • A person has been lawfully asked to remove the mask for facial recognition purposes.

 

Note: General social distancing requirements are specified in Mayor’s Order 2020-054:

  • Maintaining at least 6-feet of distance from other individuals.
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer frequently, or after contact with potentially infected surfaces, to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Covering coughs or sneezes, preferably with a tissue immediately disposed of, or into the sleeve or elbow, not hands.
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
  • Not shaking hands.

 

Additional industry-specific requirements and guidance are available at dc.gov/phasetwo

 

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for legal advice.  For legal assistance with an employment or business matter, contact our Firm through the “Contact Us” page on our website, or calling us at 202-795-9999. 

 

We’ve Moved!

Goldblatt Martin Pozen LLP has moved to a new space.

Effective June 15, 2020, we have moved to 1432 K Street NW – Suite 400.  You are always welcome to visit our new office.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act

On May 5, 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia adopted Bill 23-750, the Coronavirus Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (“Omnibus Act”). This is the fourth D.C. legislative package adopted since Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public health emergency on March 11, 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID-19 Supplemental Corrections Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (April 21); COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (April 7); COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (March 17)). The Omnibus Act applies retroactively to March 11, 2020 and will take effect for 90 days upon approval by the Mayor.

 

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation

  • Requirements for on-premises retailer’s licensees to register with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to sell beer, wine, or spirits in closed containers accompanied by prepared food for off-premises consumption are clarified.
  • Certain alcohol license application and notice requirements are modified.
  • The required time for surrendering a license for closure or ceased operations is tolled during the emergency.

Corporate Filing Extension Clarification

  • There shall be no late fee for delivering the 2020 biennial report to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, so long as it is delivered by June 1, 2020.

Cooperative Association Remote Meetings

  • During the emergency, members of a cooperative association may conduct regular and special meetings remotely regardless of whether it is authorized by the association’s articles or bylaws.

Trade Name Renewals and Taxation of Microgrants

  • Public health emergency microgrants are excluded from gross income for tax purposes.
  • There shall be no late fee for filing an April 1, 2020, trade name renewal application with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, so long as it is filed by June 1, 2020.

Third-Party Food Delivery Commissions

  • During the emergency, a person, corporation, partnership, or association operating a third-party food delivery platform must register with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
  • During the emergency, a platform may not charge a restaurant a commission in excess of 15% of the purchase price of an online order.
  • A person may not cause a platform to reduce the compensation rate paid to a delivery service driver, or garnish gratuities, in order to comply with the maximum commission requirement.
  • During the emergency, a platform must disclose to the customer any commission, fee, or monetary payment imposed by the platform on the restaurant.
  • A person who violates these requirements shall be subject to a fine and civil infraction by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Emergency Credit Alerts

  • If a consumer demonstrates evidence of financial hardship resulting directly or indirectly from the cause of the emergency, and for 60 days thereafter (the “covered time period”), a consumer reporting agency that maintains a file on a consumer must include a COVID-19 alert beginning on the date of the request, unless the consumer requests that it be removed.
  • No user of a consumer report may use or consider any adverse information in a report that was the result of an action or inaction by a consumer that occurred during the covered time period if there was a COVID-19 alert.
  • This provision does not apply to a national bank or a federal savings association, except to a subsidiary or affiliate of a national bank, other than a subsidiary or affiliate that is chartered as a national bank.
  • When a D.C. resident requests a copy of a credit report, the entity providing the report must notify the resident of their right to request a COVID-19 alert.
  • If a person or entity violates this section, the affected consumer may bring a civil action.
  • The Attorney General may petition the Superior Court for relief.

Rental Tenant Payment Plans

  • During the emergency and for one year thereafter (the “covered period”), a “provider” must develop a rent payment plan program for eligible residential and commercial tenants.
    • A “provider” is any person receiving or entitled to receive rents or benefits for the use and occupancy of a commercial unit, or of a residential rental unit and that has 5 or more residential units currently rented or available for rent.
    • An “eligible tenant” is a residential or commercial retail property tenant that has notified the landlord of an inability to pay all or a portion of the rent due as a result of the emergency, is not receiving a rent reduction under the D.C. COVID-19 mortgage relief program, and is not a franchise, unless the franchise is owned by a District resident and operated in the District.
    • Under a plan, the provider must permit an eligible tenant to enter into  plan for rent that comes due during the covered period and prior to the cessation of the tenancy, waive fees or penalties arising out of entering into the plan, not report to a credit bureau delinquent rent that is subject to the payment plan or report the payment plan as derogatory information, and notify all tenants of the availability, terms, and application process for the program.
    • Providers must permit tenants with a payment plan to pay an amount greater than the monthly amount provided in the plan. Providers may not require or request a tenant to provide a lump sum payment. The payment plan must be agreed to in writing. Providers may use any amount held on behalf of the tenant to satisfy amounts owed under a plan, so long as the tenant agrees in writing.
    • A provider must establish procedures governing how tenants apply for the program. An application must be made available online and by telephone.
    • A provider must approve an application in which a tenant demonstrates evidence of financial hardship resulting directly or indirectly from the public health emergency that is in addition to any delinquency or future inability to make payments in existence prior to the emergency that would cause the tenant to be unable to qualify for renting the unit based on the qualification criteria that were applied to the tenant when they were approved. The tenant also must agree in writing to make payments according to the plan.
    • A provider who receives an application must retain it for at least 3 years.
    • A residential tenant whose application is denied may file a written complaint with the Rent Administrator. A commercial tenant whose application is denied may file a written complaint with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Commercial Tenant Rent Increase Clarification

  • The prohibition against rent increases for “commercial property” during the emergency is revised to apply only to “commercial retail property.”

Eviction Clarification

  • During the emergency and for 60 days thereafter, a person aggrieved may not file a complaint for possession of real property without right.

Residential Amenity Fees

  • If, during the emergency and consistent with applicable law or a Mayor’s order, a housing provider temporarily stops providing an amenity that a tenant pays for in addition to rent, the amount charged for the amenity during the emergency must be returned to the tenant pro rata. If a housing provider temporarily stops providing a service or facility that is lawfully included in the rent charged, the housing provider may not be required to reduce the rent charged.

Residential Accommodation Cleaning Requirements

  • During the emergency, the owner of a housing accommodation must clean common areas on a regular basis, including surfaces that are regularly touched.
  • A “housing accommodation” is any structure or building containing one or more residential units that are not occupied by the owner, include apartments, efficiency apartments, rooms, accessory dwelling units, cooperatives, homeowner associations, condominiums, multifamily apartment buildings, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and group homes.

Out of School Time Report Waiver

  • During the emergency, the Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes may waive the requirement to conduct an annual, community-wide needs assessment.

UDC Board of Trustees Terms

  • The terms of members of the UDC Board of Trustees are modified.

Notice of Modified Staffing Levels

  • During the emergency, a nursing facility that is unable to meet its staffing requirements as a result of the circumstances giving rise to the emergency must notify the Department of Health.

Long-Term Care Facility Reporting Positive Cases

  • Each long-term care facility must report daily to the Department of Health the number of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases and related deaths for employees and residents during the emergency and for 60 days thereafter.

Contact Tracing Hiring Requirements

  • Under the Contact Trace Force initiative, the Director of the Department of Health must establish a goal and make the best effort to hire at least 50% District residents for all positions, and establish a goal and make the best effort to hire at least 25% graduates from a D.C. workforce development or adult education program for the position of investigator.

Shared Work Program Clarification

  • Definitions and requirements are clarified for the shared work program, a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers experiencing a temporary decline in businesses.

Paid Sick Leave Enforcement Clarification

  • Use of the Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund for activities related to enforcement of paid declared emergency leave is limited to $500,000.

Composting Virtual Training

  • During the emergency, the Mayor may provide training for the Homeowner Composting Initiative Program remotely through videoconference.

Ballot Access Reform

  • For the November 3, 2020, General Election, petition sheets in support of a candidate may be electronically made available and returned. Signatures shall not be invalidated because the signer was also the circulator on the same petition sheet.
  • The voter signature requirement for ballot access by petition for the November 3, 2020, General Election are reduced to 250 voters for Delegate or at-large member of the Council, 150 voters for ward member of the Council or at-large member of the State Board of Education, and 50 voters for ward member of the State Board of Education.
  • Format requirements for initiative or referendum petition sheets are modified. In calendar year 2020, initiative and referendum petition sheets may be electronically made available and returned.

ANC Petitioning and Grantmaking

  • Candidates for ANC for the November 3, 2020, General Election shall be nominated by a petition signed by not fewer than 10 registered qualified electors. Petitions may be electronically made available and returned. Signatures shall not be invalidated because the signer was also the circulator on the same petition sheer.
  • During the emergency, an ANC may approve grants to organizations assisting in the response to the emergency anywhere in the District, even if the services are duplicative of those performed by the District government.

Remote Notarizations

  • During the emergency, the Mayor may authorize a notary public to perform notarial acts by “audio-visual communication,” regardless of the notary’s location.
    • “Audio-visual communication” is an electronic device or process that enables a notary to view, in real time, an individual and to compare for consistency the information and photos on government-issued identification, and be specifically designed to facilitate remote notarizations.
    • To perform a remote notarization, a notary must notify the Mayor, perform the notarization electronically according to a specified procedure, retain a recording of the act for three years, and indicate in a certificate and in a journal that the individual was not in the notary’s physical presence.

Electronic Witnessing

  • During the emergency, electronic witnessing in certain guardianship matters is permitted.

Contractor Reporting of Positive Cases

  • A D.C. government contractor must immediately report to the government if it learns, or has reason to believe, that a “covered employee” has come into contact with, had a high likelihood of coming into contact with, or has worked in close physical proximity to a “covered individual,” when either individual was exposed, or suspected to have been exposed, to SARS-CoV-2.
    • A “covered employee” is an employee or agent of a contractor that has tested positive for COVID-19, is in quarantine or isolation, or is exhibiting symptoms.
    • A “covered individual” is a government employee or agent, individual in the care of the District or the contractor, or a member of the public who interacted with, or was in close proximity to, an exposed person while the exposed person was at a District government facility.
  • A contractor must immediately cease the on-site performance of a covered employee until the employee no longer poses a health risk as determined in writing by a licensed health care provider.
  • The District must securely maintain the name, phone number, and email address of an exposed person.

Liability Clarification

  • Liability limitations related to the emergency response are clarified to include certain related donations.

Jail Reporting

  • During the emergency, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice must provide the Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety with a weekly report that includes a description of conditions and COVID-19 testing for individuals detained in the D.C. Jail.

8th and O Disposition Extension

  • For the disposition of 1336 8th Street NW, the affordable housing requirements are modified and the time period for completing the disposition is extended to September 15, 2020.

 

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for legal advice.  For legal assistance with an employment or business matter, contact our Firm through the “Contact Us” page on our website, or calling us at 202-795-9999. 

D.C. COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020

On April 7, 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia adopted the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (“Supplemental Emergency Act”), which will be in effect for 90 days after approval by the Mayor. The Supplemental Emergency Act is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (“Emergency Act”), which the Mayor signed into law on March 17, 2020. The Council also adopted a temporary version of the Emergency Act and will adopt a temporary version of the Supplemental Emergency Act, both of which will be in effect for 225 days after enactment.

 

LABOR, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND EDUCATION

  • Unemployment Insurance Clarification

    • An “affected employee” shall receive unemployment compensation regardless of whether the employer has provided a date certain for return to work, or whether the employee has a reasonable expectation of continued employment.
      • “Affected employees” are those who are otherwise eligible for unemployment and have become unemployed due to the public health emergency, such as quarantine, ceased or reduced employer operations, or reduction in revenue.
    • The work-search requirement and one-week waiting period are waived for all claimants during the emergency.
    • In conformity with federal law, employment may include individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, do not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for unemployment or pandemic emergency unemployment.
    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits authorized by the federal CARES Act will not be charged to the experience rating of base period employers. Employers that have elected to make payments in lieu of contributions will be charged 50% of reimbursements due.
    • DOES shall have broad discretion to waive any eligibility requirement, other than physical ability and availability requirements.
  • District Work-Share Program Expansion

    • The shared work unemployment compensation program is expanded.
    • The voluntary program administered by the Department of Employment Services is designed to reduce unemployment and stabilize the workforce by allowing certain employees to collect unemployment benefits if the employees share the work remaining after a reduction in hours of work and wages.
    • To obtain approval for a shared work program, an employer must, among other things, show that the plan and hours reduction is in lieu of temporary layoffs that would affect at least 10% of employees.
  • Declaration of Emergency Sick Leave

    • Amendment to Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act: During the emergency period, an employer with 50 to 499 employees that is not a health care provider must provide an employee with up to 80 hours, or the number of hours the employee would normally work in a two-week period, of paid leave at the employee’s regular rate for an absence from work for any of the reasons provided in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. An employee must be employed for 15 days before the request for leave to be eligible. Qualifying reasons for leave are if the employee:
      • Is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
      • Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
      • Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
      • Is caring for an individual who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order, or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19
      • Is caring for a son or daughter of the employee if the school or childcare for the child is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions, or due to a COVID-19 declared emergency
      • Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services
    • Relationship to Other Benefits: An employer may require that an employee exhaust available leave under federal or D.C. law or an employer’s own policies prior to using declared emergency leave. If an employee uses all declared emergency leave available and informs the employer that they have a continued need to be absent, the employer must inform the employee of any other leave to which the employee may be entitled under federal or D.C. law or employer policy.
    • Right to Cure: An employer alleged to have violated this requirement by notice from the Mayor has 5 business days to cure the alleged violation.
    • Prohibited Acts: An employee shall not: (1) be required to provide more than 48 hours’ notice of the need to use leave, (2) be required to provide more than reasonable notice of the need to use leave, (3) be subject to threats or retaliation, or (4) be required by the employer to identify another employee to cover the employee’s work hours.
    • Certification: An employer shall not require medical certification unless the employee uses 3 or more consecutive working days of leave. When certification is required, the employee shall not be required to provide it until 1 week after return to work. An employer that does not contribute to a health insurance plan on behalf of the employee shall not require certification.
  • Emergency Leave Enforcement

    • During the emergency, the Universal Paid Leave Fund may be used to enforce declared emergency leave.
  • UDC Fundraising Match

    • The District will increase the rate and extend the period for providing matching funds for private donations to the University of the District of Columbia.
  • Graduation Requirements

    • The DCPS graduation requirement of 100 hours of community service is waived for a senior who would otherwise be eligible to graduate in the 2019–20 school year.
    • If the Superintendent grants an exception to the 180-day instructional requirement for the 2019–20 school year, a Carnegie Unit may consist of fewer than 120 hours of classroom instruction.

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • Enhanced Penalties for Unlawful Trade Practices

    • Any violation of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, enforced by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, during the emergency is a Class 1 infraction.
  • Mortgage Relief

    • During the emergency and for 60 days thereafter, a mortgage servicer to a residential or commercial mortgage loan under the jurisdiction of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (“DISB”) must develop a program that: (1) grants at least a 90-day deferment of payments, (2) waives any fees accrued during the emergency, and (3) does not report to any credit bureau any derogatory information resulting from the deferral.
      • A mortgage servicer is an entity that has a contractual right with a mortgage lender to receive periodic payments pursuant to the terms of a mortgage loan and performs other services in connection with the mortgage.
      • A commercial mortgage loan is a loan for the acquisition, construction, or development of real property, or a loan secured by collateral in such real property, that is owned or used by a person, business, or entity for the purpose of generating a profit and includes single-family housing, multifamily housing, retail, office, and commercial space.
    • The mortgage servicer must approve each application for the program in which a borrower demonstrates evidence of financial hardship resulting from the emergency, including a delinquency or future ability to make payments, and agrees in writing to make the deferred payments within a reasonable time, or five years from the end of the deferment period or the end of the original term, whichever is earlier.
    • Property for which a mortgage foreclosure proceeding was initiated on or before March 11, 2020 is exempt.
    • The DISB may investigate complaints about denial of an application for deferment.
    • A recipient of a mortgage deferral must reduce the rent charged on a qualified commercial or residential tenant in proportion to the reduced mortgage amount paid. A qualified tenant is a tenant who is unable to pay all or portion of rent due to the emergency. The tenant must repay the rent owed within 18 months, or the end of the lease term, whichever occurs first.
  • Residential Tenant Protections

    • All time periods for tenants and tenant organizations to exercise rights under the Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 are tolled until the end of the emergency and for 30 days thereafter.
    • Tenant notices of intent to vacate upon the expiration of a lease provided prior to the emergency are tolled.
    • A rental increase is null and void if it is: effective during the emergency or 30 days thereafter, provided during the emergency, or provided prior to but takes effect during the emergency.
    • All time periods for tenants and tenant organizations to exercise rights under the Rental Housing Act of 1985 are tolled until the end of the emergency and for 30 days thereafter.
    • All rent increases are prohibited during the emergency and for 30 days thereafter.
  • Utilities

    • A cable operator shall not disconnect, suspend, or degrade basic service for nonpayment of a bill, fees, or any other changes during the emergency or for 15 calendar days thereafter. An operator may provide reduced services under a plan that allows for essential use.
    • A telecommunications service provider shall not disconnect, suspend, or degrade basic service for nonpayment of a bill, fees, or any other changes during the emergency or for 15 calendar days thereafter. A provider may provide reduced services under a plan that allows for essential use.
    • The Attorney General may use its consumer protection enforcement authority against any merchant, including a utility provider that violates any provision of this Act or the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020.
    • The Department of Energy and Environment’s CRIAC Assistance Fund may be used to assist residential D.C. customers with payment of an outstanding water bill balance. At least $1.26 million must be used for CRIAC assistance.
  • Certified Business Enterprise Assistance

    • Absent a waiver, any contract for a government-assisted project in excess of $250,000 entered into during the period must provide that at least 50% of the dollar volume be subcontracted to small business enterprises (“SBE”). If there are insufficient SBEs to meet this requirement, the requirement may be satisfied by subcontracting 50% of the dollar volume to any qualified CBE.
    • For every dollar expended by a beneficiary with a resident-owned or disadvantaged business, the beneficiary shall receive additional credit against the CBE minimum expenditure.
  • Funeral Services Consumer Protection

    • Various consumer protections for funeral services are established.
  • Debt Collection

    • Specified actions to collect a consumer debt by a creditor or debt collector are prohibited during the emergency and for 60 days thereafter.
    • A debt collector is prohibited from initiating communication with a debtor during the emergency.
  • Carry Out and Delivery

    • A retailer with commercial street frontage at the Washington Convention Center that sells foods and is approved by Events DC to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption that registers with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and receives written authorization may sell beer, wine, or spirits in closed containers for carryout or delivery, so long as they are accompanied by a food purchase.
    • An on-premises retailer’s licensee, with written authorization, may sell beer, wine, or spirits for carryout or delivery, so long as they are accompanied by a food purchase.
  • DC Opportunity Accounts Expanded Use

    • The match rates and District aggregate contribution limits for contributions to opportunity accounts are increased.
    • Limitations on the use and emergency withdrawal of opportunity account funds are relaxed.
  • Contractor Advance Payment

    • An agency may make an advance payment to a certified contractor for purposes related to the emergency when necessary to achieve the purposes of the Small and Certified Business Enterprise Development and Assistance Act, and may provide an advance of more than 10% of the total value of the contract.
  • Vacant Property Designations

    • A commercial property that houses a business that has closed during the emergency as a result of the emergency, and for 60 days thereafter shall not be added to the vacant property list.
  • Franchise Tax Exclusion

    • Small business loans awarded and forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program of the federal CARES Act are excluded from gross income for income and franchise tax purposes.

 

JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Police Complaints Board Investigation Extension

    • Deadlines for certain Police Complaints Board investigations are extended.
  • FEMS Reassignments

    • Fire and EMS Department (“FEMS”) personnel may be reassigned from firefighting and emergency medical services operations based on inability to wear personal protective equipment consistent with medical and health guidelines during an emergency.
  • Civil Rights Enforcement

    • The Attorney General may obtain injunctive relief, civil penalties, and any other form of relief permitted, as well as subpoenas, under the D.C. Human Rights Act during the emergency.
  • Extension of Time for Non-Custodial Arrestees to Report

    • A person subject to a non-custodial arrest during an emergency must appear before the relevant law enforcement agency to complete the arrest process within 90 days.
  • Good Time Credits and Compassionate Release

    • Defendants serving terms for felony offenses committed before August 5, 2000 may be retroactively awarded good time credit.
    • The court may modify a term of imprisonment under certain circumstances on motion.
  • Electronic Wills

    • A will may be attested and subscribed in the electronic presence of the testator.

 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Public Health Emergency

    • D.C. government employees and contractors are exempt from civil liability for actions taken in scope of their employment during the emergency, except in instances of gross negligence.
    • The Mayor may extend the 15-day emergency declared on March 11, 2020 for an additional 90-day period, and for 15-day periods thereafter.
  • Extension of Care and Custody for Aged-Out Youth

    • The Child and Family Services Agency may retain jurisdiction of a minor in legal custody of a public agency who turns 21 during an emergency for the period of the emergency and up to 90 days thereafter.
  • Hospital Support Funding

    • The Mayor may issue grants to eligible hospitals for certain COVID-19-related purposes.

 

GOVERNMENT DIRECTION AND SUPPORT

  • Tolling of Matters Transmitted to the Council

    • The time periods for the Council to act on various matters are extended.
  • Council Code of Conduct

    • A Councilmember may disseminate information about services and offers, including from for-profit entities, that the Councilmember determines is in the public interest in light of the emergency.
    • A Councilmember or the Councilmember’s staff may transmit an electronic newsletter in the 90-day period immediately before an election without submitting it for review by the General Counsel or Office of Campaign Finance.
  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissions

    • An ANC vacancy occurring during the emergency will not be filled.
    • The time to make available and circulate nominating petitions for candidate for ANC member is tolled.
    • Times for agencies to provide notice to ANCs are extended.
  • Disclosure Extension; Campaign Finance Training; and Disbursement Extension

    • The deadline for members of the D.C. Retirement Board to file financial disclosures is extended from April 30, 2020 to July 30, 2020.
    • The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability may change the dates in 2020 for filing financial disclosure and lobbyist activity reports.
    • Office of Campaign Finance (“OCF”) candidate and treasurer trainings may be conducted online.
    • The time for OCF to make disbursements under the Fair Elections Program is extended to 5 business days.
  • Election Preparations

    • Vote Centers operated by the Board of Elections (“Board”) are deemed polling places for the June 2 and June 16 elections.
    • The Board will mail every registered qualified elector an absentee ballot and postage-paid return envelope for the June 2 and June 16 elections.
    • Any D.C. agency that provides public assistance must regularly promote the Board’s revised plans for the June 2 and June 16 elections on social media, including on how to register to vote and vote by mail.
    • The requirement to post an alphabetical list of registered qualified electors in all libraries 45 days prior to an election is waived for the June 2 and June 16 elections.
  • Absentee Ballot Request Signature Waiver

    • A request for an absentee ballot for the June 2 or June 16 election need not include the voter’s signature.
  • Board of Elections Stipends

    • For the remainder of 2020, the total permissible compensation for a Board member is increased to $25,000 for a member $53,000 for the Chairperson.
  • Administrative Hearings Deadline Tolling

    • The 90-day time period to review an adverse action concerning public assistance or under the Homeless Services Reform Act is tolled.
  • Approval of Mayor Nominations

    • Various pending nominees to agency directorships, boards, and commissions are approved.

 

BORROWING AUTHORITY

  • Fiscal Year 2020 General Obligation Notes Emergency Act of 2020

    • The issuance of $300 million in general obligation notes is authorized to meet appropriations for FY20.
  • Fiscal Year 2020 Tax Revenue Anticipation Notes Emergency Act of 2020

    • The issuance of $200 million in general obligation revenue anticipation notes is authorized to meet appropriations for FY20.

 

REVENUE BONDS

  • Revenue bonds for Studio Theater, Inc., DC Scholars Public Charter School, Inc., Washington Housing Conservancy, National Public Radio, Inc., and Public Welfare Foundation, Inc. are approved.

 

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for legal advice.  For legal assistance with an employment or business matter, contact our Firm through the “Contact Us” page on our website, or calling us at 202-795-9999. 

CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) enacted on March 27, 2020 included the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides for $349 billion in forgivable loans for eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities for eight weeks during the COVID-19 emergency. Businesses may apply between April 3, 2020 and June 30, 2020, but are encouraged to apply as quickly as possible.

Who is eligible?

  • Small business concerns, business concerns, nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations, Tribal business concerns, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors with 500 or fewer employees are eligible.
  • Businesses in certain industries with more than 500 employees may be eligible if they meet applicable SBA standards.

What is the amount of the loan?

  • The maximum loan amount is two months of the business’ average monthly payroll costs from the last year, plus 25%, up to $10 million and capped at $100,000 annualized for each employee.

What can the loan be used for?

  • Payroll costs, including:
    • Salary, wages, commissions, or tips up to $100,000 for each employee employee
    • Employee benefits, including paid leave, allowance for separation or dismissal, group health care benefits, and retirement benefits
    • State and local taxes on compensation
    • For sole proprietorships and independent contractors: wages, commissions, income, and net earnings, up to $100,000 for each employee
  • Interest on mortgage obligations incurred before February 15, 2020
  • Rent under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020
  • Utilities for which service began before February 15, 2020

How can the loan be forgiven?

  • The loan is forgiven to the extent it is used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities in the 8 weeks after receiving the loan. Amounts used for other costs must be repaid over 2 years at 1.0% interest.
  • Forgiveness will be reduced if the business: (1) decreases the number of full-time employees, or (2) decreases salaries and wages by more than 25% for any employee who earned less than $100,000 annualized.
  • Businesses may restore full-time employment and salary levels for any changes made between February 15, 2020 and April 26, 2020 until June 30, 2020 without a reduction in loan forgiveness.

How do I apply?

  • Small businesses and sole proprietorships may apply through existing SBA lenders or through any federally insured depository institution or credit union, or Farm Credit System institution that is participating beginning April 3, 2020. Independent contractors may apply beginning April 10, 2020.
  • The application is available through the Department of the Treasury here.
  • An applicant must provide the lender with payroll documentation.
  • An applicant must certify or acknowledge in good faith that:
    • Current economic uncertainty makes the loan necessary to support ongoing operations;
    • The funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll, or to make mortgage, lease, and utility payments;
    • The applicant has not and will not receive another loan under the program;
    • The applicant will provide the lender documentation that verifies the number of full-time equivalent employees on the payroll and the dollar amounts of payroll costs, covered mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities for the eight weeks after getting the loan;
    • Forgiveness will be provided for the sum of documented payroll costs, mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities;
    • All information provided is true and accurate, and knowingly making a false statement to get a loan is punishable by law; and
    • The lender will calculate the eligible loan amount using the tax documents submitted.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for legal advice.  For legal assistance with an employment or business matter, contact our Firm through the “Contact Us” page on our website, or calling us at 202-795-9999.