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PRESIDENT BIDEN’S CALL FOR ACTION ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

(Last updated September 10, 2021)

Yesterday, President Biden announced his COVID-19 Action Plan (the “Plan”), containing broad and far-reaching provisions to combat the pandemic. The Plan includes vaccination and testing requirements for businesses with over 100 employees and provides numerous resources and benefits for small businesses and individuals.

While the Plan outlines a myriad of mandates and initiatives, many questions remain about the precise nature of certain obligations, when they will take effect, and who will have financial responsibility for them. Consequently, we will continue to provide updates as further details become available.

Private Employers: Vaccinations, Testing and Paid Time Off

Employers with 100 or more employees must ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to produce a negative COVID-19 test result on at least a weekly basis. President Biden has tasked the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) with developing a formal rule to require this. Because the formal rulemaking process can take months to years, OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) in the meantime; an ETS takes effect immediately and helps expedite the formal rulemaking process. It is unclear whether employers will be responsible for making COVID-19 tests available and/or paying for them. The Plan does address discounted testing, discussed below.

The Plan also tasks OSHA with developing a formal rule requiring employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for vaccinations and recovering from vaccination-related illness. OSHA will issue an ETS containing this requirement as well. The Plan does not state whether the federal government will reimburse employers for providing this time off through tax credits (as was the case under the Families First Coronavirus Protection Act).

Federal Workers/Federal Contractors: Vaccination Mandate

President Biden has signed Executive Orders requiring all federal executive branch employees and all employees of entities that do business with the federal government to be fully vaccinated.

Health Care Workers at Medicare/Medicaid Participating Hospitals/Health Care Settings

The Plan provides for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

COVID-19 Testing: Increased Availability, Reduced Costs

  • Expansion of Easy-to-Use Testing Production: The Plan seeks to ensure a broad, sustained, and industrial capacity for COVID-19 test manufacturing through the federal government’s use of the Defense Production Act and its procurement of nearly $2 billion in rapid point-of-care and over-the-counter home test kits.
  • Increased Affordability of At-Home Tests: Top retailers that sell at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests – Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger – will offer to sell them at cost for the next three months, beginning September 10, 2021. The Plan also requires Medicaid make at-home tests free for beneficiaries.
  • Expansion of Free, Pharmacy Testing: The Administration will expand the number of retail pharmacy sites where anyone can get tested for free through the HHS free testing program.

Financial Relief for Small Businesses

  • COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: This program (which is already in existence) offers low-interest, fixed-rate, long-term loans from the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). Currently, $150 billion in loanable funds are still available in this program. The Plan provides for the SBA to increase the maximum amount that can be borrowed from $500,000 to $2,000,000. The funding can be used to hire and retain employees, purchase inventory and equipment and pay off higher-interest debt. The SBA is to ensure that small businesses do not have to begin repayment for two years. The Plan also calls for the SBA to make it easier for small businesses with multiple locations in hard-hit sectors (such as restaurants, hotels, and gyms) to access these loans (although the Plan provides no details on how this will be accomplished). To further assist small businesses, the SBA will soon offer a 30-day exclusive window of access during which time only small businesses seeking loans of $500,000 or less will receive awards.
  • Streamlining Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Process: The Plan will simplify the forgiveness process for Paycheck Protection Program loans by having the SBA send a pre-completed application form to the borrower who can then review, sign, and submit to the SBA; the SBA will then work with the lender to complete the forgiveness process.

Other Topics of Interest

  • Schools: The Plan calls for governors to require vaccinations for teachers and school staff. The Plan also calls on schools to set up regular testing of teachers, staff, and students in accordance with CDC guidance. Current CDC guidance recommends that screening testing be offered to students who have not been fully vaccinated when community transmission is at moderate, substantial, or high levels; and screening testing should be offered to all teachers and staff who have not been fully vaccinated at any level of community transmission.
  • Easy Access to Vaccinations/Booster Shots: When booster shots are approved by the FDA, individuals may visit vaccines.gov to locate vaccination sites, to determine what vaccines are offered at each site, and, for many sites, to see what appointments are available.
  • Large Entertainment Venues: The Plan requests large entertainment venues such as sports arenas, large concert halls, and other places where large numbers gather to require patrons to be vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

President Biden’s Action Plan can be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan.

Questions? Please contact:

Christie Newkirk
cnewkirk@ccsb.com
214.855.3020
27 CARRINGTON COLEMAN ATTORNEYS SELECTED IN MORE THAN 31 PRACTICE AREAS FOR BEST LAWYERS® RECOGNITION

Demonstrating the firm’s commitment to serving clients across the business spectrum, Carrington Coleman is proud to announce that more than half of our attorneys have earned recognition in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© or the companion Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.

A total of 27 attorneys, representing more than 31 unique practice areas, were selected to the 2022 list. Beginning with Environmental Law partner Charles Jordan’s selection in 2006 to the first-time selections this year for Lance Currie, Chelsea Glover, Debrán O’Neil, and Marisa O’Sullivan, these Carrington Coleman attorneys collectively have earned Best Lawyers recognition a total of 252 times.

Carrington Coleman attorneys selected to the 2022 Best Lawyers® listing:

Best Lawyers Ones to Watch

Eight additional Carrington Coleman lawyers were selected to the companion Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch listing of the top young attorneys in the country. This honor is reserved for and recognizes the professional excellence of, attorneys who have been in private practice for five to nine years.

Join us in congratulating:

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because selection is based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation, inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America legal guide is among the most highly respected honors in the legal profession.

INSURANCE LITIGATOR MARISA O’SULLIVAN JOINS CARRINGTON COLEMAN AS PARTNER

Insurance litigator Marisa O’Sullivan has joined Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP as a partner in the firm’s Dallas office.

“Marisa has distinguished herself at the forefront of the exceedingly important practice of insurance coverage law. We are excited to add an attorney with her industry and professional leadership experience to the firm,” said Carrington Coleman Managing Partner Monica Latin.

Over the course of her career, Ms. O’Sullivan has served as coverage counsel to commercial clients in a variety of industries including technology, hospitality, real estate, manufacturing, transportation, aviation, security, and retail. In addition to coverage litigation, Ms. O’Sullivan advocates for her clients facing claim handling disputes, claim resolution problems, and policy procurement or renewal issues. She has published several articles and led seminars for both in-house counsel and bar organizations on a range of insurance and litigation topics, including business risk insurance, cyber insurance, and e-discovery.

“Marisa has earned a reputation for creative problem solving in her advocacy for clients,” said Lyndon Bittle, head of the firm’s Insurance Group. “She will be a tremendous asset in meeting the complex needs of our clients and continuing to grow our insurance group.”

Named the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers’ Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019, her work has earned recognition from Thomson Reuters’ Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars. She has also been listed by D Magazine as one of the Best Lawyers in the field of insurance law and the Best Lawyers Under 40 in Dallas.

A Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation and Dallas Bar Association Foundation Fellow, she currently serves on the boards of the Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Women Lawyers Association. She is slated to serve as President of the Dallas Women Lawyers Association in 2022.

Ms. O’Sullivan earned her law degree, cum laude, from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri.

CHAMBERS USA RECOGNITION PLACES CARRINGTON COLEMAN AMONG TOP LITIGATION PRACTICES

Carrington Coleman has been selected by the prestigious Chambers USA legal guide among Texas’ top firms for its commercial litigation practice.

According to Chambers, the firm was selected based upon its handling of a wide variety of matters, including breach of contract, oil & gas, securities, employment, and construction disputes, in trials, appeals, and alternative dispute resolution.

One source interviewed by Chambers described the firm’s litigation team as “cohesive and dedicated to the client’s success.”

The firm, one said, is dedicated to finding “client-oriented solutions and problem solving.”

Managing Partner Monica Latin and Partner Alex More also earned individual recognition for their litigation work.

Mr. More earned praise from clients as a “pragmatic thinker” who “combines legal knowledge with strategic acumen” for his work related to fiduciary duty, securities and fraud-related disputes.

Calling Ms. Latin a “brilliant strategist with very strong analytical powers and superb litigation skills” for her work on complex commercial disputes at the trial and appellate levels, another client concluded: “She is a great litigator.”

The Chambers USA guide is produced by London-based Chambers and Partners, known worldwide for its thorough guides to the legal profession. Selection is based on thousands of attorney and client interviews to identify lawyers who demonstrate top technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commitment, and other key qualities.

D MAGAZINE “BEST LAWYERS IN DALLAS” 2021, CARRINGTON COLEMAN PARTNERS RECOGNIZED

We are honored to announce our attorneys that have been selected to D Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Dallas 2021.” Carrington Coleman attorneys named to the exclusive list are: Cathy Altman, Construction Litigation; David Drumm, Real Estate; Whitney Keltch Green, Family Law; Kelli Hinson, Professional Nonmedical Liability Litigation; Monica Latin, Business/Commercial Litigation; Christie Newkirk, Labor & Employment; and Mike Sutherland, Bankruptcy & Workout.

Attorneys are first nominated for “Best Lawyers in Dallas” by their peers. Once nominated, a panel of attorneys reviews the nominations and selects the top attorneys in their practice area to compile The D Magazine “Best Lawyers” list. The complete list of Best Lawyers in Dallas is featured in the May edition of D Magazine and is available at www.dmagazine.com.

Whitney Keltch Green was also named to D Magazine’s 2021 “Best Lawyers Under 40 in Dallas” list, along with Carrington Coleman attorneys Alex More and Andrea Perez.

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