Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Returning to Work: Forecasting the New Normal in Business

We cannot predict when businesses will reopen across the country. As we publish this Alert, dynamic business leaders are cooperating in comprehensive efforts to create safe work environments so that they can all re-engage the workforce.

However, we can predict the new normal in business. Some important studies were published yesterday, and the new normal in business will be facemasks for all employees, and probably all business visitors.

The scientists at the National Institutes of Health published a study yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine addressing the question of whether the coronavirus can be “aerosolized” when people are speaking. The study advises that the coronavirus can be aerosolized and transmitted between individuals who speak in-person.

In an accompanying commentary to the study, a Harvard University biologist remarked that those aerosols from infected persons may pose a threat, “even at considerable distances and in enclosed spaces,” and identified the wearing of a masks as a prophylactic measure.

Additionally, Nature Medicine published its study yesterday finding that individuals may be infectious for two to three days before showing symptoms of Covid-19.    

What does this mean for employers?

Start sourcing facemasks now. Whether essential or non-essential, healthcare or non-healthcare, all employers will need to have facemasks for employees, and probably visitors, in order to return to new normal operations.  

When combining the studies and the commentary, it makes the current preventative measures (six-foot rule, temperature at door, sending sick employees home, etc.) look less effective than believed. Speaking can be as dangerous as coughs and sneezes. Either by governmental order, regulatory requirement, or to avoid novel claims by employees, employers will need to provide facemasks. 

We expect that additional requirements will also be issued before businesses will reopen, so it probably makes sense to start sourcing disinfectant products at the same time.

For additional information, please contact Jeffrey C. Miller, jcmiller@bmdllc.com or 216.658.2323, or any member of the L+E Team at BMD

Lockdowns, Landlords, & Litigation: Abercrombie & Fitch Flips The Script on Simon Property Group Inc.

Novel litigation between commercial property owners and tenants arises from COVID-19 lockdowns. Typically, owners sue for nonpayment of rent. But in Franklin County, Ohio, a large retail tenant turned the tables and sued the owner to recoup payments.

UPDATE: Ohio Businesses Remain Required to Post Exceptions to State-Wide Mask Mandate at All Entrances

On August 1, 2020, Lance D. Himes, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued an amended order continuing the requirement that Ohio businesses post at all entrances any permitted exceptions they provide to customers, patrons, visitors, contractors, vendors and similar individuals to use facial coverings.

2020 Marcum National Construction Survey Marks a New, Post-Pandemic Construction Environment

The results of the 2020 Marcum National Construction Survey are in, and the construction industry’s outlook for the remainder of 2020 and beginning of 2021 remains cautiously optimistic despite the COVID-19 global pandemic. Ability to find skilled labor, healthcare expenses, and material costs remain the top concerns for the industry, while “lack of future work” joins the list.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in the Wake of COVID-19

Several major “essential business” employers, including Walmart and Tyson, have been served with wrongful death lawsuits in relation to COVID-19. As many Ohio employees begin to return to work, employers should be prudent in following workplace safety practices.

We are Working in a Virtual, Video-Conferencing World – But What About Wiretapping?

Businesses and other organizations often have a need or desire to record telephone conversations related to their business interests and customer dealings; however, this practice is not always permissible as federal and state laws vary on this issue. Knowing and understanding your jurisdiction’s rules and regulations on this practice is essential to remaining in compliance with the law.