This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 215 lifting mass gathering and social distancing limits and most mask mandate restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The new Order is effective on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. and extends through 5 p.m. on June 11, 2021.

What are some notable changes under the Order?

  • Face covering requirements are lifted in most settings.
  • Capacity restrictions are lifted in all settings.
  • Social distancing requirements have been lifted in most settings.

What remains the same?

  • People can continue to wear face coverings, which are recommended ...

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 209 relaxing the outdoor mask mandate and easing the mass gathering limit restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The new Order is effective on April 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. and extends through 5 p.m. on June 1, 2021.

What are some notable changes under the Order?

  • It lifts the requirement that face coverings be worn outdoors anytime that social distancing of at least six feet cannot consistently be maintained from non-household members. Under the Order, face coverings are no longer required in any outdoor setting.
  • The indoor mass ...
Posted in Employment

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA” or the “Act”), another piece of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the Act provides premium assistance for eligible employees and their family members who elect continuation coverage under COBRA or a state’s mini-COBRA law and continue health insurance benefits under those laws. The premium assistance is available for coverage between April 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2021. Employees pay nothing for their coverage during this time, and employers are ... Read More 

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 204, which further eased various restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. However, the state’s general mask mandate remains in effect.

Among other things, the Order:

• increases mass gathering limits – the new limit for indoor gatherings is 50 people, and up to 100 people may gather outdoors;

• lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments;

• establishes three general categories of occupancy restrictions – up to 100% capacity ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The Act, which builds in part on certain COVID-19 relief measures enacted in 2020, contains several items that could impact employers’ COVID-related leave policies.

In particular, though employers are still not required to continue offering leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) or the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) passed in 2020, employers that elect to do so through September 2021 are eligible for tax credits to cover much of the cost.

The American ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

On March 8, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. (A person becomes “vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.) The public guidance is based on a contemporaneously issued science brief describing preliminary evidence that the vaccines are effective against a variety of coronavirus strains (except a strain out of South Africa) and a growing body of evidence that vaccinated people may be ... Read More 

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 195 lifting his modified “Stay at Home” Order and loosening various restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. Among other things, the Order increases the number of people that may gather indoors from 10 to 25, changes the curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., opens businesses such as bars and amusement parks with occupancy restrictions, and increases indoor and outdoor occupancy for certain businesses, venues, and arenas. The new Order is effective on Feb. 26, 2021 at 5 p.m. and ... Read More 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, enacted late last year, includes several tax related changes and incentives affecting businesses.

Congress overruled guidance from the Internal Revenue Service to provide that expenses paid with Payroll Protection Program loans (PPP) will be deductible even if the PPP loans are forgiven. The new law also clarifies how forgiveness works in the context of a partnership or S corporation.

Congress modified the Employee Retention Credit in two important ways. First, businesses that receive PPP loans may now qualify for the employee ... Read More 

This week, Governor Roy Cooper extended four Executive Orders issued previously to address the COVID crisis.

The Orders extended this week are the following:

  • EO 189, Modified “Stay at Home,” was extended through Feb. 28. Brooks Pierce Client Alert on the earlier “Stay at Home” Order.
  • EO 190, Delivery and Carry Out of Certain Alcoholic Beverages, was extended through March 31.
  • EO 191, Evictions and Expedited Unemployment Claims, was extended through March 31.
  • EO 192, Transportation Provisions, was extended through Feb. 28.

If you have questions, please contact Alex ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, employers subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are no longer required to provide employees with COVID-related paid leave, but they may do so in some situations and still receive tax credits for doing so.

The FFCRA, which required that employers provide emergency paid sick leave for COVID-related reasons and emergency paid family leave to employees due to school closures, expires on Dec. 31, 2020. These requirements were not extended as part of the stimulus package passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020 and signed into law by the president ... Read More 

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