COVID-19 Update | Monday, April 6 (Weekend Update)
April 6, 2020
- Top Congressional Democrats wrote the Administration over the weekend requesting that grants provided to air carriers and other industries not be tied to overly restrictive terms – the letter states that “assistance must not come with unreasonable conditions that would force an employer to choose bankruptcy instead of providing payroll grants to its workers.” This was specifically in reference to warrants and other payment instruments that could be invoked by the Treasury as a requirement for receiving aid.
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer continues to publicly urge the president to appoint a military leader to oversee the production and distribution of medical supplies and equipment for COVID-19. Schumer sent a letter to the Administration and has engaged new White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on the issue.
- As reported on Friday, both sides of the aisle continue to assert that there will be a fourth COVID-19 relief package and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to indicate that healthcare is a top priority of his for the package. Speaker Pelosi continues to call for more funding for small businesses by expanding provisions of the CARES Act.
- The President stated over the weekend that this week would be America’s “toughest week” of the COVID-19 crisis. The President reiterated his commitment to supplying hotspots around the country with the medical supplies needed to combat the outbreak.
- The President tweeted his ongoing support for the PPP program (the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Plan created in the CARES Act) this weekend. He stated he would ask Congress for more money to support the program if the allocated money runs out. To date, the program has $350 billion authorized.
- A Transportation Security Administration employee has died after being infected with COVID-19. The employee was a canine handler at Newark Liberty International Airport and was the first TSA employee to die from the virus.
- Both Mexico and Canada have certified that they have met the requirements necessary for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to take effect. Reports continue to indicate that the trade deal could go into effect as soon as July 1.
- It is unclear at this time whether or not the three countries have developed uniform regulations for auto rules. As of last week, automakers still had not seen a draft of the uniform regulations that will require auto companies to make costly and time consuming changes in order to achieve compliance.
- Today is the statutory deadline for the Administration to start sending relief to air carriers and other businesses to help them maintain their payrolls.
- Delta, United, and American each confirmed Friday that they had met the priority deadline to apply for the first round of aid.
- Smaller and low-cost carriers continue to worry that the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed minimum services conditions requiring airlines to keep flying to certain points if they receive government aid will hurt them disproportionately.
- DOT issued a warning to airlines on Friday that it will step up enforcement against those airlines that fail to give cash refunds for cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- DOT Secretary Elaine Chao publicly stated late last week that she opposes a domestic shutdown of air travel.
- Despite Congress seemingly being in agreement over delaying infrastructure to a future COVID-19 relief package, the President continues to raise it as a possibility in the context of the a fourth COVID-19 relief package.
- Administration officials are pushing for cruise lines to consider registering in the United States in order to receive COVID-19 aid.
- Reports over the weekend indicated that leaving cruise lines out of the industries that received relief under the CARES Act was a bipartisan decision. Cruise lines still face a major hurdle to achieving relief due to the fact that they are incorporated in countries other than the United States.
- Early last week, the Administration projected between 100,000 and 240,000 total deaths as a result of COVID-19 if the Administration’s social distancing guidelines are followed. Dr. Deborah Birx recently cited data estimating between 40,000 and 178,000 deaths.
- The Wage and Hour Division within the Department of Labor issued a temporary rule this morning promulgating temporary regulations to implement public health emergency leave under Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and emergency paid sick leave to assist working families facing public health emergencies arising out of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. That notice can be found here.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for precautionary tests after testing positive for COVID-19 10 days ago.
- TurboTax has launched a free tool to help people receiving COVID-19 recovery payments get their bank information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Trade products described as critical and in severe shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic have totaled about $597 billion, or about 1.7 percent of total world trade in 2019.
- The National Restaurant Association expects that the industry will lose $225 billion over the next few months and estimates 5 to 7 million jobs will be lost.
- Reports indicate that General Motors expects “mass production” of ventilators to start mid-April.
- This past Friday, more than 90 former US government officials and experts on US-China relationship urged both countries to work together to contain, and defeat, COVID-19.
- The Transit Workers Union of America and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represent more than 330,000 workers in the US, are working together to hold transit agencies accountable for “failing to protect employees, including by not providing them with masks and gloves.”
- New York has received 1,100 ventilators from China to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Maine has mandated a 14-day quarantine for all travelers entering the state.
- Alabama has implemented a statewide stay-at-home order.
- Reports indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a $1 billion loss for NBA, NHL, and MLB broadcasters. The President also indicated over the weekend during a conference call with major sports league commissioners his belief that the NFL season should start on time in September.