COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Articles Posted in Small Business

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CTA – Federal Reporting Requirements for Small Business

The paper work for many small businesses will be increasing.

Many small businesses with 20 or fewer employees and $5 million or less in gross receipts or sales will be subject to new federal reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), a section of the National Defense Authorization Act enacted on January 1. This will include both those formed in the U.S., whether through a state or an Indian nation, as well as those formed outside the U.S. but registered to do business here.

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How to Prepare for 2021

Wow, 2020 was a year to forget! I hesitate to say it was interesting because it was not. It was more like a nightmare as we coped with a public health crisis, an economic crisis, a political crisis, and a civil rights crisis. Let’s put 2020 in a lead box and drop it in the deepest part of the ocean!

Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced a number of businesses to close. Some businesses have actually thrived and others have adapted and are working diligently to succeed. Mostly, it has altered how businesses operate and tested our resilience. Some people have learned that working remotely is a viable alternative, while others have found themselves struggling to survive in a world which places demands on the use of technology to survive.

George Bellas Chicago Business Lawyer George Bellas answers questions for business owners.

Employees can be required to vaccinate.

The federal government has stated that workers can be barred from work if they refuse the vaccine.  Employers can make a COVID vaccination a condition of employment.  But, employers must also consider exemptions for employees with disabilities or religious objections.

After a long delay in getting guidance to employers, on December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) – this is the agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination – provided the answer to whether employers can require employees to provide proof of vaccination and how employers should respond to employees who indicate that they cannot get vaccinated because of a disability.

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

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Are virtual business transactions the new reality?

Once consummated in title company conference rooms amid seemingly bottomless stacks of paper, real estate transactions—like seemingly every other aspect of our lives—have gone virtual during the pandemic.

While some home buyers opt to continue in-person closings where possible, others are either giving their attorneys the power to ink final documents for them, or turning to software like DocuSign, with which increasing numbers of customers have become comfortable.

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           Crypto economy has arrived.

An actual physical bank will soon be providing the full slate of deposit-taking, custody and fiduciary services for cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.

The Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Kraken Financial on September 16 became the first digital asset firm in the U.S. to obtain a federal- and state-recognized bank charter and thus will be regulated very similarly to other American banks. Although the institution will have a physical office in Cheyenne, the plan is to emphasize online and mobile banking, with customer support on call 24/7/365.

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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.

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Women-Owned Small Business Ends

Starting October 15, in a stepped-up effort to ensure that all applicants are eligible, the U.S. Small Business Administration will no longer allow women-owned small businesses or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses to self-certify that they meet the requirements for the Procurement Program for Women-Owned Small Business Concerns.

That program enables these categories of businesses to compete for set-aside or sole source contracts with the goal of awarding at least 5% of contracts to these businesses, a goal that the government surpassed in 2019 with $26 billion in total contracts awarded. Women-owned small businesses are defined as those at least 51% owned by one or more women who are U.S. citizens, while the separate economically disadvantaged category includes those with a net worth of less than $750,000, not including primary home equity and interest in the business.

Is Chicago Commercial Real Estate set to rebound after 2020?

Is commercial real estate set to rebound after 2020?

The pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders from governments and private employers has upended the commercial real estate market on a number of fronts.  And we are now looking square into the Pandemic Recession which has just begun.

For now, it’s merely a matter of unpaid rents and empty spaces, which means short-term losses for building owners. But if working at home has lasting appeal—and the sometimes-resistant culture of American business changes—or if shopping from home stays at its currently heightened level of prevalence, commercial real estate could lose longer-term value.

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How private is your cell phone?

Smartphones provide all kinds of information that advertisers might find useful, including the user’s locations throughout the day. While this information is aggregated and anonymized—excluding names and other identifiers—it’s possible that hackers or other malevolent actors could gain access to a user’s raw data.

Location tracking can be useful for a number of reasons, ranging from targeted advertising from stores and brands, to traffic monitoring and reporting on the part of GPS apps, to analyzing the growth of potential coronavirus hot spots. But people often don’t know their information is being tracked, and disclosures that providing their location for use in a weather app might lead to their data being sold, for example, are often buried in the fine print.