We at Stein Sperling recognize the impact that COVID-19 is having on communities, businesses and individuals nationwide. To help address this ever moving pandemic, we have created this resource page, updated frequently, to address the most pressing issues affecting our clients at this time.

Our attorneys and staff are prepared to help our clients through these extraordinary challenges. We are fully available to you. Please contact us if we can be of help in any way. 

Legislative Updates

Employment: DOL Regulations for FFCRA

UPDATED 4/1/2020: The Secretary of Labor has issued temporary regulations to implement public health emergency leave under Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and emergency paid sick leave to assist working families facing public health emergencies arising out of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Business: Paycheck Protection Program

UPDATED: 4/3/2020: The SBA has issued interim final rules for the Paycheck Protection Program.
* Based on the Paycheck Protection Program Fact Sheet for Borrowers issued by the SBA on 3/31/2020, some of the information in this 3/27/2020 article may have changed.  Please see the Paycheck Protection Program Fact Sheet for Borrowers.
UPDATED: 3/27/2020: The Paycheck Protection Program will make available up to $349 billion in loans by banks and other lending institutions to small businesses and other eligible entities. Our business department outlines what it covers and who is eligible.

Tax: Tax Provisions of the CARES Act

UPDATED: 3/27/2020: Our tax department details the tax provisions of the CARES Act signed by the President on March 27, 2020.

Tax: IRS Provides Further Relief to Delinquent Taxpayers During COVID-19 Crisis – People First Initiative

UPDATED: 3/26/2020: Effective March 25, 2020, the IRS instituted a host of sweeping changes aimed at reducing taxpayers’ compliance burden during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Our tax department breaks down these changes.

Employment: What the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” Means for You and Your Business

UPDATED 3/26/2020: President Trump has signed into law the revised “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”  The Act becomes effective on April 1, 2020, so employers should immediately begin preparations to ensure compliance with the law.  Our employment and tax attorneys detail the paid sick leave, family medical leave and tax issues addressed in this Act.

Employment: Guidelines on FFCRA

UPDATED 3/26/2020: On 3/26/2020 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced its first round of published guidance – in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, a poster featuring Employee rights and a Questions and Answers document – to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

Tax: Maryland Comptroller and IRS Provide Tax Collection Relief in Response to COVID-19

UPDATED: 3/25/2020: Effective March 12th, 2020, the Maryland Comptroller halted certain tax collection efforts in response to the developing Corona virus outbreak.  Our tax department has outlined these efforts and what they mean for you.

Tax: IRS and Maryland Extend Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines

UPDATED: 3/25/2020: The Internal Revenue Service and the Comptroller of Maryland has extended the tax filing deadline and the payment deadline for individual, corporate, partnership, trust and estate 2019 returns from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Our tax department details this update and what this means for you.

Family: Access to the Courts Remain for Domestic Violence Matters

UPDATED: 3/30/2020: On March 27, 2020, the Maryland Judiciary clarified that Maryland citizens continue to have access to the courts for protection from domestic violence. Even though the courts are closed to the public, if an individual is in need of a protective order, the individual may still obtain an interim protective order by going to the local commissioner’s office. The commissioners have the authority to issue an interim order, which if issued will remain in effect until May 4th or 5th, at which time the court will conduct a hearing on whether to grant a temporary order pending a final outcome. Find the closest commissioner’s office throughout the state.

Government Orders

Maryland

3/30/2020: Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan has issued an executive stay-at-home order that puts stricter restrictions on people’s activities and allows for broader enforcement. His office also released Interpretive Guidance of Maryland’s Executive Order for further clarification.

3/30/2020: Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan’s office has issued interpretive guidance on his executive stay-at-home order.

3/30/2020: Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan has issued a remote notarization’s order.

3/23/2020: Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan has issued an executive order that, among other things, put in place restrictions on restaurants, recreational and entertainment businesses, and non-essential retail businesses. His office also released Interpretive Guidance of Maryland’s Executive Order for further clarification.

Virginia

3/30/2020: Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has issued an executive stay-at-home order directing all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.

3/23/2020: Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has issued an executive order that, among other things, put in place restrictions on restaurants, recreational and entertainment businesses, and non-essential retail businesses. Additionally, the Governor and State Health Commissioner issued an executive order prohibiting all inpatient and outpatient surgical hospitals, freestanding endoscopy centers, physicians’ offices, and dental, orthodontic, and endodontic offices from providing procedures and surgeries requiring personal protective equipment if those procedures, if delayed, are not anticipated to cause harm to the patient by negatively affecting the patient’s health outcomes.

Washington, D.C.

3/30/2020: Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a mayor’s stay-at-home order that reinforces the Mayor’s direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities.

3/24/2020: Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a mayor’s order that, among other things, put in place restrictions on restaurants, recreational and entertainment businesses, and non-essential retail businesses.

Financial Resources

Federal

The Paycheck Protection Fact Sheet – This provides details for borrowers on the program that authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance – This program provides Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million for alleviating economic injury caused by disaster. The actual amount of the loan is limited to the economic injury as determined by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan at rate determined by law not to exceed 3.75% with loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. There is a collateral and credit history and additional requirement for loans.

SBA offers further guidance on EIDLs Basics – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The organization has provided answers to questions that have arisen on their Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) program.

Maryland

The Maryland Department of Commerce is offering new business assistance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment and other items identified as Critical Needs Items by MEMA and DGS, that are urgently needed by the State of Maryland, Maryland-based hospitals and healthcare facilities, and emergency and first responders.
  • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund – This $75 million loan fund offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum.
  • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – This $50 million grant program offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. 
  • Maryland COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund – This $7 million fund provides eligible businesses funding up to $50,000 to cover the cost of purchasing equipment to allow employees to work remotely, cleaning/sanitizing services so that small businesses are able to keep employees at work on-site, paying for liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery, and adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs. *Please note the Department of Labor has currently stopped accepting applications for the Layoff Aversion Fund. See their website for details.
  • Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country.  
  • Montgomery County, Maryland Public Health Emergency Grant Program: Grant funding up to $75,000 per business or nonprofit for County businesses or nonprofits with 100 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees that can demonstrate financial losses caused by the public health emergency. Grant funding must be used for employee wages and benefits, taxes, debt, rent or other operating losses during the public health emergency. Grant program includes microgrant funding for local businesses and nonprofits up to $2,500 to purchase teleworking equipment and technology, to support teleworking capabilities during the COVID-19 emergency. As a part of this program, a grantee must enter into a grant agreement that provides the County with the right to audit the financial records of the grantee, certain grantee reporting obligations, and the grantee must remit any funds that are unused or improperly used. The Director of the Department of Finance is expected to adopt regulations to implement this Program, which will specify the application and procedures and further eligibility criteria for a grant to a local business under the Program.

Virginia

For Virginia businesses, there are various local financial aid and benefit measures that have recently been enacted in response to the impacts resulting from COVID-19, which are in addition to the benefits afforded by the statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loans that Virginia businesses may qualify for with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia has enacted various financial aid and other benefit measures to help D.C. businesses and others weather the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency including the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrant Program and the COVID-19 Recovery Effort. Currently, the District is committing $25 million to these efforts.

Insights and Analysis

Employment: What Do You Do If Your Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus or Has Symptoms of the Coronavirus

As an employer, we all want all of our employees, clients and those with whom we do business to be safe. Our employment attorney Darla McClure shares what the CDC and EEOC recommend if one of your employees becomes ill and how to handle job candidates during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Business: The Doctrine of Impossibility/Frustration of Purpose

While a force majeure clause in a contract likely does not excuse the obligation to pay rent or other monetary obligations under a contract, our business attorney details the doctrine of impossibility and when it may apply to your particular circumstances.

Business: The Impact of Planning and Forgotten Contract Clauses – Understanding “Force Majeure” aka “the Act of God” clauses in the new COVID-19 World

COVID-19 has caused many to review their contracts and look at what to do in a the new COVID-19 world. “Force majeure” aka “Act of God” clauses are provisions that explain to parties what happens when acts beyond the control of the parties occur.  Based upon the language of the clause, the consequences can be quite dramatic! Read what our real estate and construction attorneys have to say about these clauses and their consequences.

Estates, Trusts & Probate: The Importance of Estate Planning During Uncertain Times

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic it is easy to focus on short-term minute issues, but our estates, trusts and probate attorney share why right now estate planning documents are so important both for your future and for peace of mind.

Press

Mark Schweighofer interviewed in Forbes on CARES Act

Micah Solomon Senior Contributor with Forbes.com, interviews Tax and Business attorney Mark Schweighofer on the Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs.

Washingtonian Interviews Steven Widdes on Increase in Estate Planning Requests

In an article for the Washingtonian, Estates, Trusts and Probate attorney Steven Widdes shares his experience with clients in the midst of the COVID 19.