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  • Paul F. Keneally

COVID Updates & Reopening Guidance

In addition to Paul Keneally, this post was authored with input from Alina Nadir and Jennifer Shoemaker.


The State has released a template for the written safety plan that all businesses now re-opening, already open or will re-open must complete. It can be found at the Forward NY website. These plans do not need to filed with any agency, but must be available should it be requested by State or local authorities.

Also, for the five specific industries re-opening today, Construction, Manufacturing, Retail (Curbside Pickup), Wholesale Trade, and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, the Forward NY website contains the State Interim Guidance (and a Summary document) for each. At the end of each Interim Guidance, a Business Affirmation form must be submitted through the link indicating that the business representative has read and understands the obligation to operate in accordance with it.

Independently, two other COVID developments this week are:

The State has issued a guidance on how employees may obtain an Order of Precautionary or Mandatory Isolation or Quarantine entitling them to State COVID paid sick leave, job protection and/or enhanced paid family leave/disability. These Orders may be obtained for employees who have tested positive for COVID; who are symptomatic, have not been tested but have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID; who have been in close contact with someone who is in mandatory COVID isolation; who are symptomatic and have returned within the last 14 days from a country listed as level 2, 3, or 4 by the CDC; or who have had proximate exposure with someone who has tested positive for COVID. This guidance may result in more such Orders triggering the right to State COVID law benefits than we have seen so far, so please be on the lookout for them.

The Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives has released its proposal for the Phase 4 COVID relief law, the so-called HEROES Act. Some of the proposals are:

  • An extension of the $600/week unemployment supplement

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) for all private employees regardless of employer size

  • Expanded reasons to qualify for EFMLA, and making the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and EFMLA consecutive not concurrent;

  • Hazard pay reimbursed by the federal government;

  • Extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans covered period, time to re-pay and re-hire and eliminating the penalty for not re-hiring some employees.

Republicans have indicated opposition to many of these proposed provisions, and said that they are most interested in employer protection from COVID-related lawsuits. Talks are expected to last at least several weeks.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here or call us at 585.258.2800.

You can view more COVID-19-related posts in our COVID-19 Resource Area here.

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