Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Responsible Restart Ohio: Stay at Home Stays in Place – First Phase of Back to Work with Precaution and Protocols

Governor Mike DeWine announced new plans today regarding the reopening of Ohio, including the first wave of businesses to welcome employees and customers back inside.

This will not be a rapid process and that is by design, as DeWine emphasizes that the guiding principles behind Ohio’s plan are to protect the health of employees, customers and their families, support community efforts to control the spread of the virus and to take the lead in responsibly getting Ohio back to work.

Here are 6 Protocols for ALL businesses:

  1. Require face coverings for employees and clients/customers at all times. Although Employers are not required to provide masks, and a cloth covering is recommended, we advise that Employers do attempt to provide masks in order to limit exposure to liability.
  2. Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if "fit for duty."
  3. Maintain good hygiene at all times -- hand washing and social distancing.
  4. Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
  5. Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines:
    1. Establish maximum capacity of 50% of fire code and use appointments, where possible, to limit overcrowding.
  6. Contact the local health district about suspected cases or exposures. Click here to find your district.

Ohio’s Timeline by Industry

  • Healthcare and Related – MAY 1
    • As of May 1: All healthcare procedures and operations that can be done that do NOT require an overnight stay in a hospital can take place. Emergency procedures and operations can still take place now, per the previous Executive Order. There will be future guidance on other procedures and operations that require an overnight stay.
    • As of May 1, dentists and veterinarians can be fully operational without limitations.
  • Manufacturing, Distribution & Construction - MAY 4
    • As of May 4, firms can re-open if they have not been open through the pandemic. 
    • All such businesses must follow the above protocols, plus these mandatory sector-specific guidelines.
  • Office Settings – MAY 4
    • As of May 4, office settings can reopen, however, work-at-home is recommended as much as possible.
    • Must follow the above protocols, plus these mandatory sector-specific guidelines.
  • Consumer & Retail – MAY 12
    • As of May 12, consumer retail and general services can reopen. 
    • Must follow the above protocols, plus these mandatory sector-specific guidelines.

NOTE: No formal announcement regarding restaurants, bars, gyms, hair salons, and spas reopening.

BMD will keep you apprised of additional guidance and protocols as they are released over the next several weeks. If you have any questions, please contact your primary BMD attorney.

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.