COVID-19 Update October 5, 2020

  • News

The latest COVID-19 news surrounds the President and First Lady testing positive for Coronavirus late last week. Trump has just been discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this evening. It’s not clear what steps have been taken to prevent further spread within the White House, as US press secretary and several staff members have also contracted the virus. We continue to pray for all of those affected by this terrible pandemic and for a vaccine to arrive soon.

Last month, President Trump signed Executive Order 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (the “EO”), which seeks to “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating,” and end so-called “divisive concepts” covered in some of these workplace trainings. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) is tasked with investigating complaints and enforcing the EO. The OFCCP has already established a hotline to field whistleblower complaints alleging that a Government Contractor is utilizing prohibited training programs in violation of EO. In this context, it is critical to understand what the EO does and does not require of government contractors, and to recognize that its lasting impact and enforceability are currently uncertain, as the nation awaits the outcome of the upcoming election and expected legal challenges to the EO.

As businesses struggle with the economic fallout of the pandemic, many may face end-of-year health insurance renewal deadlines that are harder to afford. To examine whether federal financial assistance enabled businesses to maintain health insurance coverage, researchers compared health care offer rates to employees by businesses reporting they had been approved for federal (PPP) funds with rates for those not approved, as of June 15, and the firms that received PPP funds were much less likely to drop coverage than firms that did not. Furthermore, the SBA has released a procedural notice to help companies that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and may have had ownership changes after receiving the loan.

In addition, employers are contending with how to respond to telecommuters dressing down during the pandemic, with surveys finding that a defined dress code could lead to increased productivity. This work environment change is facing so many across the country, which is why our next episode of Dialed in with Delta will focus on “how to work from home the right way,” with expert panelists discussing everything from ergonomic interior design to protection from hackers. Stay tuned for a link to register as we coordinate schedules to find a time that works in the coming weeks.

For those located along the Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Delta is intensifying and predicted to make landfall as a category 2 storm by the end of this week. Please note that this season ends in November, so we ask that you prepare accordingly and heed to our suggestions laid out in this hurricane safety guide.

Lastly, don’t forget to register for our next COVID-19 webinar, where we will review the last month’s legislative updates and provide insights that apply to your businesses.

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