Coronavirus Flash Update August 17, 2020

Coronavirus Flash Update: August 17, 2020

This is the final regular edition of Alston & Bird’s Coronavirus Flash Update, the 47th. With nearly 6,000 subscribers, we are proud of what we were able to achieve; supporting our clients and the public with vital information during extraordinarily challenging times. You are invited to keep in touch with us by subscribing to the firm’s advisories of your choice by clicking here. We hope to stay in touch. 


The Latest News

  • U.S. COVID-19 cases exceed 5,374,002 and 168,690 U.S. deaths. (Source: CDC) (Updated 8/17/20)
  • U.S. stock market: On Friday the major benchmarks ended with mixed results for the day, with the Dow rising 34 points, while the S&P and Nasdaq lost less than a point and 26 points, respectively. (New)
  • With Congressional Coronavirus emergency aid talks stalled, the Senate departed last week for the traditional August recess; the House departed the previous week. Both bodies could return early subject to the call of their respective leadership if behind the scenes negotiations bear any result, but they are otherwise out until September 8. A key area of disagreement is aid to state and local governments which range from the $150 billion offer by the Administration to the roughly $1 trillion proposal by the Democrats. Liability protection for employers is another area of debate as reflected by a comprehensive proposal included in the Senate GOP HEALS Act and no language in the House passed HEROES bill. Absent movement on negotiations it looks like agreement on an emergency relief package will fall to September when Congress must also finalize the fiscal year 2021 spending bills before October 1st. (New)
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called members back to DC this week to work on US Postal Service aid. The House has stated its plans to move forward on a free-standing bill, but the President last week stated he would support aid if included in the emergency stimulus package currently being be negotiated. (New)
  • The Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) closed to applications on August 8, but the agency has released several relevant updates on PPP loan forgiveness and appeals (8/11/20):
  • The SBA released Interim Final Rule - Appeals of SBA PPP Loan Review Decisions (New)
  • Added questions 50 & 51 to the PPP FAQs (New)
  • FAQs for PPP Loan Forgiveness (New)
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) has moved forward on the Presidents Executive Order last week to extend supplemental unemployment benefits. On August 12, the DOL announced guidance for the Lost Wages Assistance Program to provide claimants in most Unemployment Insurance programs up to $400 per week additional benefits starting on or after August 1, 2020 and ending December 27, 2020 at the latest. The funds are provided to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). (New)
  • On August 14, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $1.4 billion for a third Safety Net Hospital targeted distribution to certain children’s hospitals. (New)

COVID-19 Federal Legislation   

  • Bill 4.0: The Senate $1 trillion HEALS Act proposal announced on July 27 laid out the GOP alternative to the Democratic House passed the HEROES Act in May. Details are both are below:
  • The HEALS Act was released on July 27 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”   

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 8/13/20)
  • The HHS Office of Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) updated a table on the allocation and distribution of Remdesivir. (Updated 8/14/20)
  • HHS has created a new public data website as a COVID-19 Resource. (Updated 8/16/20)
  • HHS published a fact sheet explaining Operation Warp Speed. (Updated 8/12/20)
  • HHS announced an investment of $6.5 million in two commercial diagnostic laboratories – Aegis Sciences Corporation and Sonic Healthcare USA – to conduct up to 4 million additional SARS-CoV-2 tests per month. The investment will also provide laboratory equipment supplied by Beckman Coulter Life Sciences and Thermo Fisher Scientific. (8/13/20) (New)
  • HHS issued notice of funding opportunity to expand and accelerate the innovative use of electronic health information via health information exchanges to support state and local public health agencies. (8/12/20) (New)
  • HHS and the Department of Defense announced:
  • agreement with McKesson Corporation to distribute future COVID-19 vaccines (8/14/20) (New)
  • agreement with Moderna to manufacture 100 million doses of a Moderna vaccine candidate. (8/11/20) (New)
  • agreement with BioFire Defense, LLC to expand the production of DOD testing. (8/10/20) (New)
  • The HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released a dashboard on COVID-19 test including race and ethnicity. (8/10/20) (New)
  • HHS posted testing plans July through December for all states, territories and localities. (8/10/20) (New)
  HHS/CDC/CMS/HRSA CARES Act Provider Relief Funds  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services  

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) latest news alerts. (Updated 8/14/20)
  • For the latest COVID-19 related CMS guidance and FAQs visit the CMS Current Emergencies webpage. (Updated 8/14/20)
  • CMS announced an Initiative to Transform Rural Health. (8/11/20) (New)

Food and Drug Administration   

 Other Federal Agencies   

  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced tracking of an unknown malicious cyber actor who is spoofing the SBA COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. (8/11/20) (New)
  • The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Board of Director notified Congress of two potential transactions that would utilize EXIM COVID-19 economic recovery measures. (8/11/20) (New)
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced new flexibilities states and local governments can use in order to utilize Community Development Block Grant funds appropriated by the CARES Act. (8/14/20) (New)
  • HUD awards $472 million to public housing authorities through the CARES Act funding to help low income families. (8/10/20) (New)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced new steps to ensure people with children receive $500 Economic Impact Payments. (8/14/20) (New)
  • The IRS released security tips for tax professionals to avoid phishing scams. (8/11/20) (New)
  • What do you need to know as some of the first CARES Act instituted loan accommodations begin to expire? The A&B Financial Services & Products Group analyzes the latest guidance from federal banking regulators to aid financial institutions that seek to continue to accommodate borrowers still reeling from the pandemic. (8/4/20) (New)
  • The Department of Labor and North American Meat Institute announced an alliance to protect meatpacking workers during the pandemic. (8/13/20) (New)
  • The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division announced that McDonald’s franchisee pays back wages to employee denied paid sick leave to care for child after coronavirus closed childcare facility. (8/14/20) (New)
  • The DOL announced guidance for the Lost Wages Assistance Program to provide claimants in most Unemployment Insurance programs up to $400 per week additional benefits starting on or after August 1, 2020 and ending December 27, 2020 at the latest. The funds are provided to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). (8/12/20) (New)
  • A federal judge ruled that restrictions in a DOL rule on which workers can access a temporary federal paid leave program are illegal and must be removed from the rule. (8/3/20)
  • To understand the impact, A&B’S Labor and Employment Group examines how the court struck down four regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and how the DOL might respond. (8/4/20) (New)
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced new reduced 504 loan debenture rates. (8/13/20) (New)
  • The SBA released Interim Final Rule - Appeals of SBA PPP Loan Review Decisions (8/11/20) (New)
  • Added questions 50 & 51 to the PPP FAQs (8/11/20) (New)
  • FAQs for PPP Loan Forgiveness (8/11/20) (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:

Alston & Bird Coronavirus Links

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