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Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Florida’s “Stay-at-Home” Order and What it Means for Businesses

On April 1, 2020, in response to the State’s ongoing efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which is a State-wide “Stay-at-Home” Order. The Order goes into effect Friday, April 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., and expires on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order (the full text of the Order is available here). 

What does the Stay-at-Home Order actually say?

The Stay-at-Home Order provides, in relevant part, that:

  • Senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions shall stay at home, and take all measures necessary to limit their exposure to COVID-19; and
  • All persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.

What are considered Essential Services

As of now, the Order defines "essential services" to include:

  • The services detailed in the Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020), issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (full text of DHS’s guidance available here); and
  • The services designated as “essential” by Executive Order 20-89, which incorporates a detailed list promulgated by the Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 07-20, as amended (full text of Executive Order 20-89 available here).

The Governor has directed the State Coordinating Officer (“SCO”) to publish an exhaustive list of all qualifying “essential services” that will be available on the Division of Emergency Management’s website at www.floridadisaster.org and the Florida Department of Health’s website at www.floridahealth.gov

As of April 2, 2020, the SCO’s list has not been published.However, generally speaking, the categories of private-sector industries that are deemed “essential” under EO 20-91 include, but are not limited to: (i) Heath Care; (ii) Transportation and Logistics; (iii) Energy; (iv) Food and Agriculture; (v) Communications and Information Technology; (vii) Manufacturing; and (viii) Commercial Facilities.

What if it is unclear if my business is providing an “essential service”?

The guidance and regulations are continuing to be updated daily, and our team at BMD is closely monitoring this ever-evolving situation. Therefore, if you are not sure whether your business is considered “essential,” or if you have any other questions regarding the Stay-at-Home Order or any other COVID-19 related questions, please contact Matt Jackson, Josh La Bouef or Cody Westmoreland in our Jacksonville office at 904.366.1500, as we are standing by ready to help you and your business navigate the challenges we are all facing.

HHS Announces an Additional $20 Billion In Provider Relief Grants

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced an additional $20 billion in new funding for providers on October 1, 2020. Eligible providers include those that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments as well as previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic. The new Phase 3 General Distribution is designed to balance an equitable payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19.

DOL Proposes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status - But How Will the Election Affect Its Future?

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rule regarding employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The full text of the proposed rule is available here. The rule's drafters intend to reduce uncertainty and enhance the precision and predictability of the long-standing "economic reality" test, which currently relies on a multifactor balancing test.

Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020 in place, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.