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, JULY 27, 2020
The Latest News
- U.S. COVID-19 cases exceed 4,217,798 and 143,997 U.S. deaths. (Source: CDC) (Updated 7/27/20)
- U.S. stock market: On Friday the major benchmarks all posted losses for the day, with the Dow dropping 182 points, the S&P 500 falling 20 points, and the Nasdaq giving up 98 points. (New)
- HHS Secretary Alex Azar signed a renewal of the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration, extending it for another 90 days through October 23. This is the second extension on the public health emergency initially declared on January 31, 2020. The 1135 waivers and other policy flexibilities will also be extended for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. (7/23/20) (New)
- The Administration’s focus on school re-opening was fully unveiled last Thursday with new, and in some instances updated, guidance from the CDC for school administrators and parents. The information included guidance for reopening schools and a resource website:
- The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools (7/23/20) (New)
- School Decision-Making Tool for Parents (7/23/20) (New)
- Guidance for K-12 School Administrators on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings in Schools (7/23/20) (New)
- Screening K-12 Students for Symptoms of COVID-19: Limitations and Considerations (7/23/20) (New)
- Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers (7/23/20) (New)
- FAQs for School Administrators on Reopening Schools (7/24/20) (New)
COVID-19 Federal Legislation
- Bill 4.0: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s release of Senate GOP emergency relief package missed its target for release last week as the Administration and Republican leaders tried to reach agreement among themselves. The White House dropped their push for a payroll tax cut and less dollars for State COVID-19 testing and they appear closer to a consensus on unemployment insurance benefits among other items with the Senate GOP. Once an agreement between the President and Senate Majority Leader McConnell is reached, the negotiations begin with the House Democratic leaders. Both chambers are scheduled to be out for much of the traditional August recess, and both parties have their “virtual” Presidential nominating conventions later this month resulting in growing speculation on whether stimulus 4.0 could be completed before September. However, the leaders of both bodies recognize the need to enact something as the pandemic continues to surge. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reflected one area of agreement during a Sunday news program interview when asked whether the House would stay in session through August to work on the relief package stating, “We can’t go home without it.” (New)
- 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 Summary – 5 Small Business Provisions
- A&B Summary – 5 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
- The Administration released a set of guidance targeting the reopening schools and a resource website:
- State/Other Actions
- For the latest information on state reopening decisions, see A&B 50-State Reopening tracker - updated in each A&B Coronavirus Flash. (Updated 7/23/20)
- Business News
- A&B evaluates the how general counsels can assess employees inside threat risk during a pandemic in this article for Law360. (7/23/20) (New)
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS has a tracking feature that allows public viewing of all COVID-19 HHS grants and cooperative agreement awards on its website. The grants were distributed through programs in the ACF, ACL, ASPR, CDC, DHHS/OS, HRSA, IHS, NIH, and SAMHSA. (Updated 7/22/20)
- HHS has created a new public data website as a COVID-19 Resource. (7/26/20) (New)
- HHS announced a national COVID-19 testing implementation forum to seek input from national stakeholder organizations and to improve the communication between private sector organizations and federal officials. (7/21/20) (New)
- HHS and the Department of Defense announced:
- Joint agreement with Hologic Inc. to expand production of COVID-19 Custom Sample Testing Collection. (7/26/20) (New)
- Joint agreement with Pfizer Inc. for large scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. (7/22/20) (New)
- The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance on civil rights protections prohibiting race, color, and national origin discrimination during COVID-19. (7/21/20) (New)
- The HHS OCR reached resolution on religious discrimination complaint, which resulted in the Maryland Hospital System patient receiving religious visitations during COVID-19. (7/21/20) (New)
- The HHS OCR reached resolution with Staten Island University Hospital regarding a student’s religious needs and ability to keep a beard. (7/21/20) (New)
HHS/CDC/CMS/HRSA CARES Act Provider Relief Funds
- HHS - the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) webpage (Updated 7/17/20)
- And the PRF FAQs (Updated 7/23/20) have been updated and capture numerous modifications.
- Released Notice of Reporting Requirements (7/20/20) (New)
- More details will be available by August 17, 2020
- The reporting system will open October 1, 2020
- All recipients required to report on expenditures through 12/31/2020 no later than 45 days after the end of calendar year 2020
- Recipients with unexpended funds as of December 31, 2020, will have to submit “a second and final report” no later than July 31, 2021
- HHS announced its portal for Medicaid/CHIP was open to eligible providers and dental portal was also open. Both are open until August 3. For technical assistance, individuals can register for the webinar on July 27, 2020 at 3:00pm ET. (New)
- HHS announced Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements for any recipients receiving payments more than $10,000. (7/20/20) (New)
- HHS announced $10 billion in a second round of Provider Relief Fund aid to high impact COVID-19 hospitals. (7/17/20)
- State-by-State Breakdown (Updated 7/20/20)
- 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 July 23. (Updated 7/23/20)
- A&B Hospital Provisions from all 4 bills tracker (Updated 7/26/20)
- A&B Provider Relief Fund Disbursements tracker (Updated 7/26/20)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) latest news alerts. (Updated 7/23/20)
- For the latest COVID-19 related CMS guidance and FAQs visit the CMS Current Emergencies webpage. (Updated 7/24/20)
- CMS Nursing Home data webpage lists the most recent weekly nursing home submissions, including state specific breakdowns. (7/23/20) (New)
- CMS announced several nursing home initiatives including (7/22/20) (New):
- New Funding for Nursing Homes:
- $5 billion PRF distribution (in addition to prior nursing home distribution).
- Nursing homes must participate in the Nursing Home COVID-19 Training (described below) to be eligible.
- Enhanced Testing
- CMS is requiring all nursing homes in states with a 5% positivity rate or greater to test all nursing home staff each week.
- More than 15,000 testing devices will be deployed to support this.
- PRF funds can be used to pay for additional testing of visitors.
- Additional Technical Assistance & Support
- In partnership with CDC, CMS is rolling out an online, self-paced, on-demand Nursing Home COVID-19 Training focused on infection control and best practices.
- This training is a requirement for nursing homes to receive the new PRF funding.
- The training will be available to all 15,400 nursing homes nationwide, along with specialized technical assistance to nursing homes that have infection prevention deficiencies in their most recent CMS inspection and had recent COVID-19 cases.
- Weekly Data on High Risk Nursing Homes
- CMS will release a list of nursing homes with an increase in cases that will be sent to states each week as part of the weekly Governor’s report.
- FAQs on COVID-19 Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief (7/22/20) (New)
Food and Drug Administration
Small Business Administration
- The President signed into law 4116 which reauthorizes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through August 8. (7/4/20)
- The SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):
- The SBA updated several of its PPP documents:
Other Federal Agencies
- S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): USDA announced a third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Purchases for distribution in September and October. (7/24/20) (New)
- The USDA provides an update on the Tyson Beef Plan Closure and COVID-19 Pandemic investigation. (7/22/20) (New)
- USDA announced $15 million in funding for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. (7/21/20) (New)
- Federal Emergency Management Administration: FEMA released best practices for reconstitution operations during the pandemic. (7/21/20) (New)
- Federal Trade Commission: On July 21, the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Director, Andrew Smith, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection. He testified that the FTC has been monitoring the marketplace for a variety of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic and has documented over 131,000 consumer complaints. In response to COVID-19 and the uptick of fraud, the FTC issued more than 250 warning letters, some with other agencies. Smith testified that the FTC is also working to protect small businesses that sought out relief and programs through the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) or other programs authorized by the CARES Act. Finally, Smith concluded that the FTC has a multi-media campaign complete with a website that provides consumer and business alerts, law enforcement actions, consumer report data, and other details about the FTC’s efforts to combat COVID-19-related scams and to educate consumers. (7/21/20) (New)
- The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Ohio nursing home company OHNH EMP LLC for violating respiratory protection standards following an inspection following a report from seven employees. (7/21/20) (New)
- The DOL announced a series of July webinars on COVID-19 related sick leave for employers. The first one is on July 28, 1:00pm – 3:00pm ET. (6/29/20)
- The Department of Justice issued a business review letter to Monoclonal Antibody Manufacturers to expedite the production of COVID-19 Mab Treatments. (7/23/20) (New)
- The Department of Justice charged a Washington tech executive with fraudulently seeking over $5.5 million PPP loans. (7/23/20) (New)
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced an Opportunity Zone program webinar for Wednesday, July 29 at 2:00pm ET. (7/24/20) (New)
- The Department of Transportation announced a CARES Act airline service exemption for United Airlines. (7/21/20) (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:
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