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Daily Briefing – 155

Post: Sep. 23, 2020

Executive Order Extending Moratorium On COVID-Related Commercial Evictions Until October 20

Commercial evictions will remain on hold in New York City at least through Oct. 20, following an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo extending emergency coronavirus protections statewide. This marks the second time Cuomo has extended the respite for commercial tenants that was set to expire on Sunday. The order also applies to commercial mortgages. 

“Over the weekend I signed an executive order … which extends the executive order that says the business cannot be evicted from a space because they can’t pay the rent as a result of the pandemic,” Cuomo said during a press briefing on Monday. “That executive order extends until Oct. 20.” 

The New York state Office of Court Administration confirmed on Monday that eviction cases filed since March 17 remain subject to the ongoing suspension. 

Read more at Law360

Reminder:  SUNY and K-12 Monitoring Dashboard

Back on September 6th New York state launched an online dashboard to track COVID-19 tests in school districts. Districts are required to provide the State Department of Health with daily data on the number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in each of their schools. They must also provide a link to the dashboard on their websites.  

In August the Governor and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced the launch of a SUNY system-wide COVID-19 case tracker dashboard. The centralized dashboard provides real time, up-to-date information on COVID-19 cases, testing, and quarantine and isolation space availability across SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities to more efficiently monitor, respond to, and contain the virus.

Fed and Treasury Call for Stimulus

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin credit the Cares Act with helping to build the recovery — yet their call on Congress to fill the economy’s remaining holes is not triggering action on Capitol Hill.

At a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Powell and Mnuchin said the lending programs run by the Fed and Treasury could only go so far and cannot replace targeted aid from Congress.  The economy has “proven resilient” since many Cares Act benefits expired over the summer, Powell said, but there are plenty of unknowns about where the economy is headed. For example, Powell said that savings are very high, raising the long-term risk that people will go through money stored away before they are able to go back to work. “So their spending will decline, their ability to stay in their homes will decline and so the economy will begin to feel those effects at some time,” Powell said.

Read more at the Washington Post 

Existing Home Sales Rise to 14 Year High

Sales of existing homes rose 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were 10.5% higher compared with August 2019. This is the highest sales pace since December 2006, before the Great Recession.

Sales were hampered only by lack of supply. There were 1.49 million homes for sale at the end of August, down 18.6% annually to a 3.0-month supply. The number of homes for sale when sales were last this robust, in 2006, was more than double the current supply.

IHS Surveys: U.S. Economy Continues Steady Recovery in September

U.S. service-sector and manufacturing companies reported solid growth in September, a positive signal for overall economic growth in the third quarter.

Data firm IHS Markit said Wednesday its composite Purchasing Managers Index for the U.S.—a measure of activity in the private sector—was 54.4 in September, down slightly from 54.6 in August. A reading above 50.0 indicates that activity is increasing, while a reading below points to a decline in activity.

Growth in the services sector slowed slightly to 54.6 in September from 55 in August, while in the manufacturing sector it accelerated to 53.5 from 53.1.

Read more at the WSJ

Immunity Discrimination: What Employers Need to Know

Legal experts are warning employers to be mindful of the potential for “immunity discrimination” — favoring certain job candidates because they’ve survived COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. This new type of bias involves recruiters who favor job candidates who have already contracted and survived COVID-19. Research suggests that coronavirus reinfection is doubtful. So, unlike applicants who haven’t had the virus, survivors likely won’t need time off work to recover from any future infection and can safely travel, meet with clients or work with others to complete tasks or long-term projects.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled such moves as unlawful and employers are advised to avoid COVID-19 discussions during the hiring process and to be mindful of other situations where discrimination could arise, such as promotion decision-making.

Read more at HR Executive

The U.S. Department of Labor Issues Revised FFCRA Regulations in Response to District Court Decision

In its August 3 decision, the District Court ruled that four parts of the Temporary Rule were invalid: (1) the requirement that an employee may only take FFCRA leave if there is work available from which to take leave; (2) the requirement that an employee may take intermittent FFCRA leave only with employer consent; (3) the definition of a “health care provider” whom an employer may exclude from taking FFCRA leave; and (4) the requirement that employees who take FFCRA leave must provide certain documentation to their employer prior to taking leave.

The USDOL reconsidered the portions of the Temporary Rule that the District Court held were invalid. It reaffirmed the regulations in part, revised the regulations in part, and provided further explanation of its rationale for its regulations.

Read more at Bond, Schoeneck and King

J&J Advances its Covid-19 Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson started a Phase 3 trial of its Covid-19 vaccine yesterday, making it the fourth company to do so. But unlike its nearest rivals, J&J has a vaccine that may require just one dose instead of two, which could be a differentiation in the months to come.  J&J is planning to enroll up to 60,000 volunteers in the U.S. and abroad to test its vaccine, which uses a harmless virus to deliver a key protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2.

J&J’s Phase 3 trial is about two months behind those of Moderna and the partnership of Pfizer and BioNTech, and it trails AstraZeneca’s U.S. study, which remains on hold after a safety issue. Each of those vaccines requires two administrations a few weeks apart. That means J&J’s one-dose vaccine, if it works, could inoculate twice as many people and avoid the risk that patients don’t return for a second vaccination.

Read more at Stat