(Updated Based on New CDC Guidance) MPL General Counsel Corner – To Mask or Not To Mask, That is the Question

Initially, this week’s topic was capital structure and financing needs.  However, it will have to wait given updated CDC masking guidance.  Apologies for the repeat, but I received a number of questions related to what can or cannot be required by business owners.  FYI, I have updated the stories/resources at the bottom (highlighted in yellow) for the new guidance.   Initially, this week’s topic was capital structure and financing needs.

As I was doing my weekly reading of Shakespeare….just kidding.  However, I think the famous quote “To Be or Not to Be” can be modified to cover two of the most common questions I get from clients related to workplace safety:

“To Require a Mask or Not to Require a Mask”
“To Require the Vax (sorry, it fits better than the full word) or Not to Require the Vax”

Just as Hamlet was questioning the meaning of life, employers are questioning the importance of policies related to Masks and the Vaccine.  I am not here to make a political statement nor give you the perfect answer.  However, the lists below provide some ways to think through these two contentious topics:

Masks

  • Check the current State requirements/recommendations – In case you want a reference guide, check out the list just published by the team at Littler;
  • Review your current company handbook/employee policy manual and see how that fits with the current mask requirements/recommendations;
  • Consult with your professional advisors (legal, hr, insurance, etc.) on your mask policy;
  • Update or modify your company handbook/employee policy manual as needed; and
  • Implement the updated or modified policy

Vaccines

  • Check your State Vaccine availability to determine which of your employees are even eligible – Thanks again to the Littler team for pulling together a list of State vaccination eligibilities;
  • Review your company handbook/employee policy manual to see if vaccinations are addressed;
  • If you do not have a vaccination strategy, consult with your professional advisors for assistance (legal, hr, insurance, etc.);
  • Update or modify your employee handbook/employee policy to address vaccinations; and
  • Implement the updated or modified policy

Below are some good resources related to Coronavirus Safety in the Workplace

I know that these lists seem like they came right out of the book of Captain Obvious, but sometimes simplicity is the best solution.  At the end of the day, you should make decisions around these issues which are the best fit for your business.

Here are a few other things that may be of interest:

Please see all of our prior updates at this link or if you would like to be added to our email list, please click here.  

As always, please don’t hesitate to email myself (jsanders@mpl-law.com), Andy Miller (amiller@mpl-law.com), Christian Miller (cmiller@mpl-law.com), Erik Spurlin (espurlin@mpl-law.com) or anyone in our office with questions or comments.  

MPL General Counsel Corner – PPP, EIDL, ERC…..Gooood Morning Vietnam!

Like any “good” government program, acronyms, not names, are the standard identifiers.  There can be a lot of confusion as to what they are and how they apply.  It reminds me of a classic scene in Good Morning Vietnam where Adrian Cronauer (played by Robin Williams) says the following:

“Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn’t we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? ‘Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we’d all be put out in K.P.”

Keeping this in mind, I thought an update on three key Coronavirus relief programs would be helpful.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – An almost $1 Trillion program originally established under the Coronavirus Air, Relief and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act) and recently updated under the PPP Extension Act of 2021.  The program ends May 31, 2021 if you are thinking of applying.  Key things to consider:

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – This loan package was also made available for Coronavirus relief under the various bills passed last year.  The EIDL program was scheduled to expire at the end of 2020.  However, under the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), the EIDL was extended through the end of 2021.  Also, under the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARP), an additional $15 billion in targeted EIDL funding was approved.

Employee Retention Credit (ERC) – This refundable tax relief program was originally authorized under the CARES Act and covered employers who did not qualify or apply for the PPP.  However, with the passage of the CAA and the ARP, the ERC was extended into 2021 and PPP recipients were eligible to use it.

If your head is spinning or you have further questions about the above or other relief programs (see the links below), please reach out to your professional service providers or trade organizations.

 

As for me, I am taking some PTO and will be MIA while I watch GMV.

Enjoy your weekend!

Please see all of our prior updates at this link or if you would like to be added to our email list, please click here.  

As always, please don’t hesitate to email me (jsanders@mpl-law.com), Andy Miller (amiller@mpl-law.com), Christian Miller (cmiller@mpl-law.com), Erik Spurlin (espurlin@mpl-law.com) or anyone in our office with questions or comments.

MPL General Counsel Corner – Breaking up is hard to do

Did you ever get into a relationship and think it would last forever?  All of sudden circumstances change (e.g., a pandemic) and that “forever relationship” just doesn’t make sense.   When the issue is finally revealed, one side is usually surprised and hurt while the other side is somewhat relieved.  Some of you may be wondering where I am going with this week’s update.

Well, if you own a business and lease space or if you own commercial property and have tenants, you may be faced with a similar situation.  Whether you are a landlord or the tenant, breaking up, in the commercial lease sense, is hard to do.

What can you do? 

If you are the tenant, do not run and hide.  The last thing you should do is stop communicating with your landlord.  Your landlord should know your situation and, if possible, be willing to work with you.  Remember, a commercial landlord does not make money by going after delinquent tenants.  They are looking for a long-term relationship, (some may say the forever kind).  However, if you still can’t come to a resolution, make sure you know your options.

If you are a commercial landlord, try to be open-minded.  Your tenant not paying rent is probably the least of their worries.  Helping them get through a tough situation (like a pandemic) will serve you both well when it comes time for renewal.  If the tenant was a good business pre-pandemic, chances are they will get back to being a good business once things settle down.  However, if the relationship is broken beyond repair, make sure you know how to officially end it.

Whether you are the commercial landlord or tenant, here are some common sections that you should review/understand/update:

  1. Termination – How can the lease be terminated and what are the ramifications for not providing notice?
  2. Renewal term – When is the current term expiring and how soon does notice of a renewal need to be given?
  3. Sublease/assignment – What approvals are needed to sublease the space?  If I am selling my business or buying a new one, does the landlord have to approve the lease assignment?
  4. Confession of Judgment – Most commercial property landlords will have some type of confession of judgment provision in the event the commercial tenant stops paying rent.  It essentially means that the landlord can go right into court and get a judgment against the tenant.
  5. Personal or Business Guarantee – Commercial tenants with personal or business guarantees put their personal and/or business assets are at risk in the event they stop paying rent.

If you have questions about your commercial lease, as a landlord or a tenant, please make sure you take time to review it with your professional advisors (commercial realtor, attorney, accountant, etc.).  That way, when it comes time to break up, it is not as hard to do.

A few things that may be of interest: 

Please see all of our prior updates at the this link or if you would like to be added to our email list, please click here.  

As always, please don’t hesitate to email myself (jsanders@mpl-law.com), Andy Miller (amiller@mpl-law.com), Christian Miller (cmiller@mpl-law.com), Erik Spurlin (espurlin@mpl-law.com) or anyone in our office with questions or comments.