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Back to Work: Planning for COVID-19 Impacts in the U.S. Through 2021

September 2, 2020

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The United States had hoped that industries (and life in general) would be “back to normal” by now after being impacted by COVID-19.  Society has endured this global pandemic for over six months, and while there have been improvements and efforts to allow certain businesses to reopen, there is no clear end in sight.

Current Events

Recent trends confirm that the impacts from COVID-19 will continue.  While death rates in states like New York[1] and Arizona[2] are decreasing, states like Georgia[3] and Florida[4] are seeing climbing infection rates.  Local hotspots like Danbury, Connecticut, have emerged,[5] and eight states (thus far) have had spikes in cases caused by the large Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota.[6]  In response, some states and local governments are implementing controls.  For example, Illinois is taking some preventative safety measures,[7] and Oahu, Hawaii issued a two-week lockdown to address increasing infection rates.[8] 

The important

FDA Reaches Voluntary Agreement with Manufacturers to Phase Out Certain Short-Chain PFAS in Food Packaging

August 12, 2020

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that manufacturers of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used for grease proofing in paper and paperboard for food packaging (for example, as coatings on some fast food wrappers, to-go boxes, and pizza boxes) have voluntarily agreed to phase out sales of these substances for use as food contact substances in the United States, following new analyses of data raising questions about potential human health risks from chronic dietary exposure.

Starting in January 2021, three manufacturers will begin a three-year phase out of their sales of certain substances that contain 6:2 FTOH for use as food contact substances in the U.S. marketplace.  It may take up to 18 months after the phase-out period to exhaust existing stocks of paper and paperboard products containing these food contact substances from the market. A fourth manufacturer informed the FDA in 2019 that

Proposition 65 – OEHHA Proposes Safe Harbor Concentrations and Blanket Protections for Exposures to Acrylamide and Other Listed Chemicals in Cooked or Heat Processed Foods

Acrylamide in food products has been one of the most significant drivers for recent Proposition 65 enforcement actions, frustrating many in the food industry, particularly because acrylamide is not added to those products. Acrylamide forms naturally when starches are heated during the cooking or baking process. Out of the 1,923 60-day notices issued this year as of August 5th, 202 were based on allegations of acrylamide exposure. After years of costly litigation and industry consternation, it appears that OEHHA has offered a possible solution to provide clarity, and potentially reduce the risk of enforcement actions for the presence of acrylamide, furfuryl alcohol, and other listed chemicals formed during the cooking process.

On August 4, 2020, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the lead agency that implements Proposition 65 and has the authority to promulgate and amend regulations, released a proposed regulation providing that intake of listed chemicals formed by

States Use Re-Closures, Pause Orders, and Travel Restrictions to Combat Increased COVID-19 Case Counts

The United States has seen an 82% increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases since two weeks ago, and has set daily new case records four times in the last week.  The bulk of the increased case counts are coming from states in the South and West, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, along with others.  The increased case counts come at a time when many of those states are still in the middle of their reopening plans, and have raised questions about whether industries will continue opening, or whether the increased case counts will lead to re-closures.

While every state’s approach is different, the following trends have developed over the last week.

1. Business Re-Closures

Several states have recently decided to re-close, or significantly restrict certain businesses.

State Steps Taken Arizona Closed fitness centers, nightclubs, water parks, movie theaters, tubing rentals, and bars for 30 days (June

Boise, Idaho Is First In The Nation To Reintroduce COVID-19 Business Closures

Ada County’s New Restrictions

The move back to Phase III triggers the closure of nightclubs, bars, and large venues.  Some bar owners had already begun implementing temperature screenings, plastic barriers between patrons and bartenders, and constant cleaning of handrails and doorknobs, but the Central District Health division of the Idaho District Board of Health still determined that closures are necessary.  Gatherings of more than 50 people are also no longer allowed.  In addition, out of state visitors are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Why is the relevant for businesses outside of Ada County?

It is the first example of a jurisdiction re-closing businesses, and a sign that a trend in that direction may be coming, particularly in the bar and nightclub industries.  The move also signals that infection rates may be the main driver for health officials who are making those closure decisions, and provides at least one data

U.S. Reopening Information

U.S. Reopening Information

June 3, 2020

Authored by: Tom Lee and John Kindschuh

The United States has seen a wave of unprecedented restrictions on the way we do business and conduct our daily lives, designed to control the risks posed by COVID-19. These changes have caused uncertainty and disruption in the business community, as well as up and down supply chains. States are now issuing orders and guidance on the path back to work, and towards a new normal.

We have prepared the map and checklist below as a general reference resource to help companies get a sense for how their industry is being regulated in each of the 50 states. The information below is current as of the date listed on the map and chart, but is intended as the first, rather than last, step in a business’ effort to decide how and when to reopen a facility. The map and chart only reflect statewide orders, and there may be more restrictive local orders. Even those

Back to Work: Governor Pritzker Announces the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan

On Tuesday, May 5, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a reopening plan for the state of Illinois. The Restore Illinois plan is divided into five phases, with the first two phases reflecting the restrictions imposed by the stay-at-home orders and the three subsequent phases pertaining to gradual reopening. Gov. Pritzker noted that the state is currently in Phase Two, which corresponds to the stay-at-home order modification that was issued on April 30. Because the stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 29, the earliest a transition to Phase Three could take place is May 30 unless the order is modified further. Before moving on to each subsequent phase, regions must meet certain health care metrics focused on case numbers, testing capacity, and contact tracing capacity.

The following chart provides a summary of each of the five phases:

Importantly, the Restore Illinois

U.S. COVID-19: California Announces Phased-In Reopening, Starting With Curbside Pickup

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that certain low-risk retail businesses will be allowed to reopen on a limited basis if they meet state guidelines and conditions to be announced on Thursday, including by allowing curbside pickup as early as this Friday.

Newsom said shops that sell items such as clothing, books, music, toys and sporting goods, as well as florists, are as among those who will be allowed to reopen on a limited basis if they meet the state guidelines.  Associated manufacturers that support the retail industry would also be allowed to begin production.

Whether a particular retail location can reopen, and under what conditions, also depends on the county and city where it’s located.  Six Bay Area counties announced last week that their shutdown orders will continue through the end of May: These include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and the City

Shutdown, Shelter in Place, and Back to Work Orders in the U.S.: Current Status

The United States has seen a wave of unprecedented restrictions on the way we do business and conduct our daily lives, designed to control the risks posed by COVID-19.  These changes have caused uncertainty and disruption in the business community, as well as up and down supply chains.

We are helping our clients across the country, and internationally, answer the key questions raised by these new orders:

  • Can I continue to operate some or all of my facilities?
  • What do I need to do to ensure that my employees can continue to come to work safely?
  • What do I need to do to ensure that I get the goods and services that I need to continue operating?
  • How do I manage the employment and HR implications of a limited or complete closure?
  • Are there any programs offering financial relief?

The map below represents the different orders across the

Back to Work: Practical Considerations from the U.S. Federal Reopening Guidelines

April 24, 2020

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On April 16, the White House and the CDC released guidelines for a phased reopening of the U.S. economy. Most states and localities have been under “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders since mid-March, and many jurisdictions are now considering how and when to lift these restrictions. The federal guidelines provide a broad blueprint for what a phased reopening could look like.

The guidelines anticipate that states and regions will move at different speeds, and that the recommendations will be tailored to each state or region’s individual circumstances. Several states, including New York, California, Ohio, Georgia, and Texas, have already announced their own plans for reopening.

Phased Reopening

The federal guidelines suggest that states implement the following phased approach to reopening:

The guidelines note that in all phases of reopening, individuals should continue to practice

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