COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Articles Posted in CoronaVirus – Business Concerns

Eviction-Moratorium-Executive-Order-2020-300x251

COVID Rules for Residential Evictions

RESIDENTIAL EVICTION UPDATE – August 27, 2021 – SCOTUS weighs in.

Finally, some clarity to the situation by the source least expected – the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”).   It has been a tortured road for Landlords during the COVID-19 Pandemic as the story is told in this blog.  Basically, SCOTUS ruled that the eviction moratorium mandated by the CDC exceeded it’s authority under the law.   The justices divided along party lines, with the court’s three liberal justices dissenting from the unsigned eight-page decision.  Landlords are now allowed to start evicting millions of Americans who are behind on rent because of the Pandemic.

covid-shut-300x200

Business interruption insurance & COVID

Should business interruption insurance cover losses due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, even if said insurance policy contains a virus exclusion?

A bar and restaurant based in Park Ridge and a former jewelry store in Chicago have gone to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that their policies with West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. should cover such losses, which they say are due to the Illinois state government orders, not the virus itself. (Mashallah Inc. et al. v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., U.S. Seventh Circuit, 21-1507)

Is-It-Time-for-Your-Business-to-Drop-the-Mask-300x251

Drop the Mask in your business?

After a year of employee and customer mask requirements being a no-brainer for small businesses, the CDC’s recent change in guidance that those who have become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 need not wear masks in many public settings has required business owners to put on their thinking caps again with regard to this issue, for the first time in more than a year.

Major retailers like Costco, Kroger, Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS have revised their guidance to match that of the CDC, although individual store locations in more highly populated areas like Chicagoland have not necessarily followed suit.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the City of Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) have each announced separate Emergency Rental Assistance Programs.  Both programs will be funded using the federal COVID-19 relief funds.   Owners with non-paying residents in Chicago can apply to both agencies for assistance, but will only be allowed to receive funds from one of the programs.

Landlords can apply for the Illinois House Development Authority assistance at:  https://ilrpp.ihda.org/

The Chicago Emergency Rental Relief Assistance Program will begin taking applications on May 24.   This program is open for both Tenants and Landlords.  For more information about this program, click HERE.

Details-Released-on-SBA-Restaurant-Revitalization-Fund-300x251

SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Eligible restaurants and other dining establishments are entitled to apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a $28.6 billion grant program under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as established in section 5003 of the legislation.

The SBA recently released a Program Guide that lays out the details of the grant eligibility under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that foodservice outlets might want to review before applying. Among the key points of consideration promulgated in that publication are:

maska-300x251

What Can Small Businesses Do About the Maskless?

As more states lift requirements that people wear COVID-19 masks indoors when in public, what can small businesses do to protect their employees—and other customers who still prefer to wear masks?

As of April 5, more than one-third of states (18) lacked mask requirements, some of which never had them in the first place, according to the Associated Press. But business owners are certainly legally entitled to require them if they so choose, given that their public-facing spaces are still private property that they either rent or own, as long as they don’t discriminate. Customers who refuse to wear a mask, are asked to leave and stubbornly do not are therefore trespassing, and business owners could involve police if they so choose.

Landlords-in-Illinois-300x251

New County Ordinance, Supreme Court Orders to Impact Landlords

Landlords in Illinois, especially those in non-home-rule portions of Cook County, will face a raft of changes this spring in the wake of three state Supreme Court orders issued in late February, and a new ordinance passed by the Cook County Board of Supervisors that takes effect June 1.

The Supreme Court’s orders respectively relate to Governor Pritzker’s eviction moratorium, which has been extended to April 3; how circuit courts can handle an anticipated flood of eviction cases once the moratorium ends; and the use of electronic signatures in eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workplace-Vaccination-Policies-300x251

How to Determine Your Workplace Vaccination Policy

As COVID-19 vaccines begin to become available for working-age people—first for those in healthcare, then those in other “frontline” occupations, then for those at risk due to medical conditions, and finally for the general 18-to-64 population—can employers implement mandatory vaccination policies?

In general, the answer is yes, according to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, although employers need to be careful on a number of fronts, starting with ensuring that the way they craft their policy does not run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Chicago Business Lawyer George Bellas answers questions for business owners.
Updated December 7

The Chicago area and Illinois business owners are facing a number of challenges and the CoronaVirus pandemic is threatening the continued viability of their business.   Here are some of the more frequently questions asked by business owners.

  • Residential Evictions can proceed under certain conditions

Employers-Mask-Up-Against-Lawsuits-300x251

Employers Need to Mask Up Against Lawsuits

Small businesses face a dizzying swirl of regulations from different levels of government about whether patrons and employees are required to wear masks during the pandemic, as well as whether employers are required to either purchase masks for employees or reimburse them for reasonable costs.

The scenario becomes more fraught given the emergence of class-action litigation even when businesses are complying with the mandates and guidelines from the federal, state and local authorities. Going forward, small businesses need to strike a delicate balance between accommodating customers in their public spaces while doing right by their employees, whose priorities are not always the same but should be considered.