In Culture, News

UPDATES:

July 30, 2020

PK Law’s Back to Workplace Committee (PK Law BWC) has been working hard over the past several months to closely evaluate the current COVID-19 situation in Maryland, monitor the CDC,  Governor Hogan’s and other pertinent government officials’ guidelines regarding safety precautions, develop a culture of safety in our offices and install safety barriers and signage.  PK Law is currently fully operational, with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

What to expect when you visit PK Law?

We welcome you to our offices and hope you enjoy your visit.  For your safety and the safety of our PK Law personnel we ask that you comply with the following:

  • In accordance with PK Law’s internal safety guidelines, Governor Hogan’s and local county official guidelines visitors are required to wear a mask or face covering at all times and are requested to bring their own masks.
  • Visitors must sign in with reception. When signing in with reception, please stand behind the designated line in front of the reception desk and tell the receptionist your name and email address/contact information and respond to the following questions: To your knowledge do you have, or have you been exposed to anyone who has, COVID-19 in the past 14 days?  Do you currently have any symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Visitors are to practice proper social distancing (stay at least six feet apart from others) at all times.
  • Visitors may only use the assigned conference room or meeting space and third floor (plaza level) and fifth floor restrooms.

July 29, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan today announced, based on the state’s data-driven approach, the expansion of the statewide masking order and a public health advisory for all out-of-state travel. The governor also unveiled contact tracing data showing that family gatherings are the most common high-risk gathering and working outside the home is the most common high-risk location for COVID-19.

EXPANDED MASKING ORDER. With the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, Governor Hogan is expanding the statewide masking order that has been in effect since April 18.

Under this order, which takes effect Friday, July 31 at 5:00 p.m., all Marylanders over the age of five are required to wear face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state.

Face coverings will also be required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing. The expanded order continues to provide certain exceptions, including for medical conditions.

OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL ADVISORY. Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to issue a public health advisory for out-of-state travel. Under this advisory, Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to states with positivity rates of 10% or higher. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results.

This public health advisory—which takes effect immediately—applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity rates decline.

As of today, this advisory applies to Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Idaho.

July 28, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan announced that 223 businesses have now been approved to participate in the Maryland Department of Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program. This program preserves jobs by providing employers with a flexible alternative to layoffs. Employees can be retained at reduced hours while collecting partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages.

Employers who participate in the Work Sharing program can retain employees by temporarily and equally reducing the hours of work by 20% to 50%, either for their entire business or for select units. By maintaining an experienced staff, they can resume business operations safely and effectively without the challenge of recruiting, hiring, and training employees. Employees reap the benefits of this program by keeping their current job, and often their health and retirement benefits, while receiving partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their wages. Employers can apply for the Work Sharing program at http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/worksharing/.

July 26, 2020

Statewide Positivity Rate Drops to 4.47%, Daily Positivity Rate Drops to 3.77%. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate has dropped to 4.47%, and has been below 5% since June 25. The daily positivity rate fell for the third consecutive day, to 3.77%.

July 22, 2020

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa, MD, signed an order suspending indoor dining services in bars and restaurants and requiring masks indoors for anyone over the age of 2.

July 12, 2020

PK Law’s Labor and Employment Attorneys Paul Finamore and Adam Konstas discuss important takeaways from the U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent employment decision – Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.  Watch Video HERE.

July 7, 2020

Maryland’s key COVID-19 health metrics continue to trend in a positive direction, with the statewide positivity rate dropping to a new low of 4.51%, and total current hospitalizations falling to 403. The state reported three new confirmed deaths, the lowest number since March 31.

July 6, 2020

PPP Loan Forgiveness Q&A By:  Diva Bole, Esquire

June 25, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan today issued the following update to Marylanders regarding the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19:

“While yesterday the United States saw a record number of COVID-19 cases, in Maryland, our key health metrics continue to trend in a positive direction. Our daily positivity rate reached a new low of 4.38%, and our seven-day positivity rate fell to 5.05%. Our total current hospitalizations have dropped to 511, their lowest level in 83 days. We have now conducted more than 600,000 tests, and have nearly 200 testing sites available across the state.

“As we continue to safely reopen, it is important to remember that this crisis is still not behind us. More than 65,000 Marylanders have been infected, and more than 3,000 Marylanders have now lost their lives to this deadly virus. We mourn each and every loss.

June 23, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland will begin to move into Stage Two of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ with a safe and gradual reopening of workplaces and businesses, along with additional personal services. This comes after the state’s positivity rate dropped to single digits, and total current hospitalizations fell to their lowest level in more than seven weeks.

As with Stage One, Stage Two will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. All 24 of the state’s jurisdictions have now entered Stage One.

June 4, 2020

PK Law Insurance Insights – Maryland Regulatory and Insurance Updates During the COVID-19 Crisis (June 4, 2020)

May 27, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan announced that due to successful Stage One reopenings across the state and improvements in key data and metrics, the State of Maryland can now safely move forward with the completion of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes the resumption of outdoor dining and outdoor activities such as youth sports and youth day camps, and the reopening of outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters.

May 15, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan announced the beginning of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes moving from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory and the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services.

Stage One will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

May 6, 2020

As Maryland continues preparations to begin Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ Governor Larry Hogan announced the resumption of elective medical procedures and the broadening of permitted outdoor activities under the state’s Stay at Home order. These directives have the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, including leading doctors and public health experts.

April 22, 2020

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Maryland is now in a position to plan the gradual rollout of the state’s recovery phase amid “very real reasons for hope and optimism,” laying out four building blocks for a recovery plan:

  1. Expanding testing capacity
  2. Increasing hospital surge capacity
  3. Ramping up supply of PPE
  4. Building a robust contact tracing operation

April 17, 2020

“MARYLAND STRONG: ROADMAP TO RECOVERY.” Earlier this week, Governor Hogan announced the four building blocks that will be necessary to begin the state’s recovery process. The state continues to make significant progress in all four of the following critical areas:

  1. Expanding testing capacity
  2. Increasing hospital surge capacity
  3. Ramping up supply of PPE
  4. Building a robust contact tracing operation

Further updates will be provided throughout the coming days, and later next week Governor Hogan plans to introduce the “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.”

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Announces New Reopening Steps While Maintaining Public Health Measures to Minimize Spread of COVID-19.  Click HERE for details.

Article – COVID-19 Checklist For Insurance Related Issues

PK Law Insurance Insights – Maryland Regulatory Update Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis 

Article – Implementing or Updating Estate Planning Documents During the Pandemic – Remote Notarization, Remote Witnessing and Electronic Signatures in Maryland 

Article – Premises Liability For Business Invitees in Light of COVID-19 

Article – Employer Liability For Coronavirus Exposure to Essential Employees

Governor Hogan to Unveil ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ Next Week.  Click HERE for details

PK Law Insurance Insights – Maryland Insurance Administration Bulletins Relating to the COVID-19 Crisis – Update

Governor Hogan Institutes Budget and Hiring Freeze Across State Government, Takes Action to Bolster Unemployment Claims Process.  Click HERE for details

Governor Hogan Activates Statewide Strike Teams for Nursing Homes, Enacts Order to Shut Down Unsafe Facilities.  Cick HERE for details

Article – Coronavirus and Contracts:  Impossible, Impracticable and Frustrating?

PK Law Insurance Insights – Maryland Insurance Administration Bulletins Related to COVID-19 Crisis – April 6, 2020

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Baltimore Business Journal – Greater Baltimore Resources For Small Businesses Navigating Coronavirus Pandemic

Article – Can Workers Walk Off the Job Due to Fears of Exposure to the COVID-19 Virus?

Governor Hogan Takes Aggressive Action to Protect Nursing Home Residents and Staff.  Click HERE for details.

CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program Q&A – Updated!

Governor Hogan announces Financial Relief Initiatives for Marylanders and Small Businesses.  Click HERE for details.

Governor Hogan issues Emergency Orders to Expand Telehealth, Designation of Disabilities Services Personnel.  Click HERE for details.

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund is an option for Maryland businesses with 50 or less employees to obtain money to sustain their business during the crisis.  There is a $10,000 grant option as well as a loan option with payments deferred for a year, 0% interest rate for first year, 2% rater after the initial year and no collateral is required.

Governor Hogan issues Stay at Home Order.  Click HERE for details.

Governor Hogan authorizes remote notarizations for estate planning and other documents.  Click HERE for the Order.

U.S. Department of Labor issues a Field Assistance Bulletin on the enforcement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In short, the DOL will not bring enforcement actions against employers for violations of the FFCRA within 30 days of enactment (i.e., until April 17, 2020) as long as the employer makes reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act.  Click HERE for the Bulletin.

U.S. Department of Labor  publishes poster and issues Families First Coronavirus Response Act:  Employer Paid Leave Requirements. The DOL issued an updated version of the poster on May 27, 2020.

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera extends Maryland state court closings to May 1, 2020.  Click HERE for the Order.

SCHOOL CLOSING EXTENDED 4 WEEKS: State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon has announced that public schools will remain closed for an additional four weeks.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act LIVE Webinar. Friday, March 27th 10:00-10:30 am.  Register HERE.

IRS issues press release on the immediate availability to businesses of the payroll tax credits intended to offset the cost of the new federal sick leave and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)  provisions.  Click HERE for the full press release.

Governor Hogan issues the closure of all non-essential businesses in Maryland. Click HERE to learn more.

DLLR has provided guidance on how to notify the MD DLLR unemployment insurance division about mass layoffs per COMAR 09.32.02.06.  The process for employers experiencing mass layoffs (25 or more employees) is to first send an email to a designated email address DLLR set up and then wait for DLLR to send a form back to the employer to fill out and turn in.  Then, DLLR will start contacting the employees on the list submitted by the employer. The DLLR updated webpage can be found here: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex M. Azar has exercised his authority to waive sanctions and penalties against a covered hospital that does not comply with certain provisions of the HIPPA Privacy Rule.  Click HERE for the full order.

President Donald Trump signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act that includes provisions for free testing for Covid-19 and paid emergency leave. For an overview of the Act click HERE.

Maryland Legislature Passes COVID–19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 – The law allows part time workers to be treated as full time, extends unemployment benefits to workers who have been quarantined due to risk of exposure or to care of an infected relative and whose employers temporarily close and prohibits firing workers who are out due to the virus or are afraid about workplace safety. It will cut costs for screening tests, improve access to telehealth services, prohibit price gouging and make it illegal for an employer to fire a worker because he or she is quarantined among other measures. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Hogan tomorrow.

Governor Hogan and State of Mayland’s Actions on COVID-19 Update

Resources for Businesses. The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor have compiled resources to help businesses whose daily operations are affected during the state of emergency. Members of the business community are encouraged to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.

Baltimore County and City Allowing County Establishments to Deliver Alcohol Within the County

Coronavirus, Paid Sick Leave, And The Americans With Disabilities Act – Where Do Maryland Employers Stand?

Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is continuing to closely monitor and reviewing daily public health updates surrounding the COVID-19 Coronavirus.  Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our clients, employees, families, and the community.
Open, Yet Safe
PK Law offices remain open, with limited staff. The majority of our employees are working remotely. If it becomes necessary to move to fully remote operations, we are prepared to make that transition without business interruption. Whether in the office or working remotely, we are committed to continuing to provide excellent, responsive and efficient legal services to our clients. We are here to help you.
Reducing Exposure
While our offices are open, we are limiting visitors and are emphasizing the use of phone or remote teleconferencing software, such as Skype, Zoom and GoToWebinar, for internal and external meetings. We are actively promoting “work distancing.” We have postponed or transitioned all upcoming in-person events to a live webinar platform and will continue to monitor health and safety guidance from state and federal agencies.
We Can Help
We wish everyone strength and health during this difficult time and we hope to continue to be a source of advice and guidance for you as we all work through these rapidly changing events. All of our attorneys are accessible via e-mail and phone. We are here to help you. All attorney contact information is available on our website. Clients may also reach out to information@pklaw.com for assistance.
We Will Continue to Update You
Please turn to us for updates, resources and guidance. We will continue to provide you with updates and information as they develop. Click HERE for the most recent updates.
Your Friends at PK Law