Posts from May 2020.

The USDA will begin accepting applications for direct payments to farmers Tuesday, May 26. These payments originate from the USDA Coronavirus Relief Fund Program (CFAP) that aims to reimburse farmers who have lost revenue from price declines or market disruptions.


The USDA expanded eligible producer groups to the categories listed below. Additionally, the USDA seeks comment from ineligible producers “who believe they’ve suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between January and April 2020, and who face additional marketing costs due to ... Read More 

Governor Roy Cooper took additional executive action this week related to North Carolina’s response to the COVID-19 virus. The move transitions North Carolina into the second phase of a plan to gradually ease statewide restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.   

The new Executive Order 141 lifts the “Stay at Home” order in Executive Order 138 as of 5 p.m., Friday, May 22, at which time Phase 1 ends and Phase 2 begins. Phase 2 is expected to run through June 26, unless changed or cancelled.

Among other things, the Phase 2 Executive Order does the ... Read More 

Posted in Hero Highlights

This article is part of a series in which Brooks Pierce highlights clients that are going above and beyond to help combat the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in their communities.

Three months ago, Cape Fear Distillery® in Elizabethtown, NC, was best known for its four-time nationally award-winning Maritime Gintm and its much-anticipated Cape Fear Rumtm. Enter the coronavirus outbreak, however, and Cape Fear is quickly becoming known for something else – hand sanitizer in gin bottles.

Aptly named DistilliSantm, the hand sanitizer is the product of redistilled ethanol ...

Posted in Employment

Three agencies have provided updated guidance for employers on essential COVID-19 issues:

  • The Department of Labor (DOL) addressed how new leave laws apply to these situations:
    • Domestic workers;
    • Those working through temporary agencies;
    • Employees who previously were working from home without the need for leave, but now need leave to care for children;
    • Handling employees absent for symptoms of COVID-19; and
    • Leave to care for children as schools close for the summer rather than due to COVID-19.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarified how to handle the return of ...

As shelter-in-place orders begin to lift around the country and here in North Carolina, it is time for companies to shift from disaster response—making it through the immediate needs of the COVID-19 crisis and related shutdown—to plans for long-term business operations in the new normal.

Although the details remain murky in many ways, there are steps that business can take now to ensure their best chances at viability in a changed social and economic environment. Business owners will need to keep close tabs on the latest legal requirements and analyze, with the help of counsel and ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

Brooks Pierce has been honored to have so many North Carolina employers rely on us for up-to-date guidance on personnel matters stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to produce, update, and post alerts for employers on our COVID-19 Response Resource Center as promptly as possible. Employers can also expect timely webinars and roundtables from us in the coming weeks, as well as the ability to review past webinars by viewing the recordings on our website.

The following checklist is our latest tool offered to North Carolina employers. It condenses information from ... Read More 

Posted in Education

On April 24, 2020, Governor Cooper closed schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year. On May 4, 2020, the Governor signed into law the COVID-19 Recovery Act (the “Act”), effective immediately, which was passed by both houses of the General Assembly on May 2, 2020. The Act affects public schools, personnel, future educators, and students in myriad ways. The stated purpose of the sections of the Act affecting public education is “to clarify or modify certain requirements in consideration of actions and circumstances related to the ... Read More 

Two bills (S 704, a policy bill, and H 1043, an appropriations bill) to address COVID-19’s impact on North Carolina were enacted over the weekend. Legislators met in a rare Saturday session to pass the bills and Governor Roy Cooper, who made a number of proposals on these matters, signed the bills into law.

Both bills addressed a variety of topics including health care, education, operations of state and local government, regulatory matters, and unemployment compensation.  Highlights from the bills are discussed below.

S 704 (Policy bill)

  • Postpones certain income tax payments to ...

On May 4, 2020, the Governor signed into law the COVID-19 Recovery Act (the “Act”), effective immediately, which was passed by both houses of the General Assembly on May 2, 2020. The Act establishes new requirements for public bodies conducting meetings and hearings during a Declaration of Emergency.

Public Meetings

A remote meeting is one where any member of the public body is participating through simultaneous communication, which may include telephone, video, or other electronic means. Public bodies have been and are permitted to conduct meetings electronically so long as ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

The crisis has not passed, but many employers are reaching out to us about returning their employees to work. In some cases, it’s because employers have received PPP funds and want to make sure they are appropriately managing employee payroll, including headcount, to take advantage of loan forgiveness. In others, employers are preparing for Governor Cooper’s phased approach to lifting restrictions, monitoring North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends.

Whatever the situation, we’ve identified several important things employers should be thinking about as they return ... Read More 


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