Coronavirus Flash Update: August 2020 #2

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Alston & Bird’s Coronavirus Flash provides updates on policy and regulatory actions under consideration across many important industries being monitored by our teams. Links to key government and legal resources are provided throughout the report.


UPDATED 9:00 AM ET ON MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2020

The Latest News

  • U.S. COVID-19 cases exceed 5,016,155 and 159,242 U.S. deaths. (Source: CDC) (Updated 8/10/20)
  • U.S. stock market: On Friday the major benchmarks ended with mixed results for the day, with the Dow and S&P rising 46 and 2 points, respectively, while the Nasdaq lost 97 points. (New)
  • Congressional talks continue with no clear indication that agreement is near on the emergency relief package under discussion. The Senate $1 trillion HEALS Act proposal announced nearly two weeks ago kicked off more serious negotiations with the House who had passed the HEROES Act in May. Leaders of both bodies have stated they intend to pass something before the traditional August recess more formally begins, and both parties are scheduled to hold their presidential nominating conventions – virtually – later in August. (New)
  • On Saturday, President Trump announced four executive orders which he said were in response to the lack of progress by Congress on its economic relief package. The executive orders drew immediate debate on whether the President had authority to change federal taxes and extend federal spending without Congressional approval, but if a congressional emergency relief deal is reached this week it may become moot on one or more of these orders. (New)
  • The four executive orders:
    • Executive Order to defer Social Security and Medicare payroll tax obligations for Americans earning less than $100,000 during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Executive Order to extend supplemental $400 per week in unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Executive Order to extend student loan payment relief through the end of 2020.
    • Executive Order to renew a moratorium on evictions to aid renters during the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Federal Legislation

  • Bill 4.0: The House and Senate leadership will continue their negotiations on a relief package and the failure of success to date may result in a smaller, more narrow virus relief package leaving some emergency aid items until September or after the election to be addressed. (New)
  • The HEALS Act was released in sections by the authorizing committees:
  • The HEROES Act was the first formal offer on a new emergency stimulus bill, 4.0: For the full details on the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800, which passed the House on May 15:
  • The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, H.R. 7010, was enacted on June 5. To learn more, see this A&B Summary of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act. (6/5/20)
  • Bill 3.5: Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, (R. 266) was enacted on April 24. Also available are a section-by-section summary and an overview of the health care provisions.
  • A&B detailed summaries are below:
    • A&B Summary5 Small Business Provisions
    • A&B Summary5 Health Care Enhancement Provisions
  • Bill 3.0: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, (R. 748) passed on March 27. A congressional section by section summary is available here.
  • Congress has passed three coronavirus emergency response bills and the first two are below:
  • Bill 1.0: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental (CPPRS) (R. 6074) passed on March 5
  • Bill 2.0: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (R. 6201) passed on March 18

Transition to “Reopening”

  • Administration Actions
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic and to make some of these flexibilities permanent after the public health emergency ends. (8/3/20) (New)
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order to encourage the production of certain drugs and medical supplies in the U.S. following shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. (8/6/20) (New)
    • The Department of State lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory in place since March 19. (8/6/20) (New)
    • President Trump announced an Executive Order to defer payroll tax obligations during the COVID-19 crisis. (8/8/20) (New)
    • President Trump announced an Executive Order to extend supplemental unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. (8/8/20) (New)
    • President Trump announced an Executive Order to extend student loan payment relief during the COVID-19 crisis. (8/8/20) (New)
    • President Trump announced an Executive Order to renew a moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 crisis. (8/8/20) (New)
    • The CDC updated or released guidance for reopening:
    • Considerations for Returning to Work (Updated 8/3/20)
    • Businesses and Workplaces (Updated 8/4/20)
    • Worker Safety and Support (Updated 8/7/20)
    • Road travel toolkit (8/6/20) (New)
    • Air travel toolkit (8/6/20) (New)
  • State/Other Actions
    • For the latest information on state reopening decisions, see A&B 50-State Reopening - updated in each A&B Coronavirus Flash. (Updated 8/7/20)

Department of Health and Human Services

HHS/CDC/CMS/HRSA CARES Act Provider Relief Funds

  • HHS announced it is extending its application deadline for the Phase 2 general distribution of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and dental providers to August 28, 2020. (7/31/20)
  • HHS announced additional details on the $5 billion CARES Act-authorized nursing home distribution. Specifically, $2.5 billion will be distributed upfront to support increased testing, staffing, and PPE needs. Some funding will go to establishing COVID-19 isolation facilities, and the remaining funds will go to performance-based distributions that will consider COVID-19 prevalence in the local geography, and the recipient’s ability to minimize spread and COVID-19-related fatalities among residents. (8/7/20) (New)
  • HHS - the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) webpage (Updated 8/7/20)
  • And the PRF FAQs (Updated 8/7/20) have been updated and capture numerous modifications.
  • The CDC has posted an updated dataset of provider recipient specific payment from the Provider Relief Fund general distribution high impact targeted allocation and/or rural targeted allocation. The dataset includes who has attested to receiving one or more payments and agreed to the terms and conditions as of August 6. (Updated 8/6/20)
  • A&B Hospital Provisions in all 4 bills tracker (Updated 8/9/20)
  • A&B Provider Relief Fund Disbursements tracker (Updated 8/9/20)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) latest news alerts. (Updated 8/7/20)
  • For the latest COVID-19 related CMS guidance and FAQs visit the CMS Current Emergencies webpage. (Updated 8/7/20)
  • CMS announced it is going to expand the deadline for use of the renewed Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) to January 1, 2021. (8/4/20) (New)
  • CMS announced a policy that will allow issuers to offer temporary premium reductions for individuals with 2020 coverage in the individual and small group markets. (8/4/20) (New)
  • CMS issued updated FAQs on COVID-19 testing at skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. (Updated 8/5/20)

Food and Drug Administration

Small Business Administration

  • The President signed into law 4116 which reauthorizes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the application deadline expired August 8. (8/10/20)
  • The SBA released a summary of PPP lending up to July 31, 2020. (8/3/20) (New)
  • The SBA issued new FAQs concerning forgiveness of PPP loans. (8/4/20) (New)

Other Federal Agencies

  • The S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $462 million to modernize critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across rural America. (8/3/20) (New)
  • The USDA announced it will authorize Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to extend deadlines for premium and administrative fee payments, defer the resulting interest accrual and allow other flexibilities to help farmers, ranchers, and insurance providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (8/5/20) (New)
  • The S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it will award over $74 million in grants to 12 state housing finance agencies to support affordable rental housing for low-income individuals with disabilities. (8/3/20) (New)
  • A federal judge ruled that restrictions in a Department of Labor rule on which workers can access a temporary federal paid leave program are illegal and must be removed from the rule. (8/3/20) (New)

For background and the most up-to-date information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website: HERE. The additional federal agency links are provided by the White House Coronavirus Task Force: What You Should Know:

Information for Businesses:

Information for Travel and Transportation:

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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