March 14, 2020Client Alert

President Said to Expand Travel Ban to the UK and Ireland on Monday

Today the President announced an extension of the ban on travel from Europe to the UK and Ireland effective at midnight EST on Monday night. He said that Americans and legal residents abroad in those countries can return home. There is guidance and assistance for business travel as well as for air cargo which is exempted from this ban which are linked below in addition to this Link to Rules for Such Travel Future bans including on domestic travel were not ruled out.
The President Announced that he had his temperature taken and that he had taken a COVID-19 test last night and did not have the results.
The President was also asked about domestic travel restrictions that might be coming and he said all things were being considered.
Last night, the House passed a sweeping coronavirus relief package with a 363-40 vote after President Trump  endorsed the deal Friday evening on Twitter, prior to its vote in the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cancelled the chamber's planned recess to take up the package next week.
The package includes a significant amount of assistance for business as well as individual Americans as businesses and schools continue to shut down  amid the outbreak. It includes:
  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.
  • Two weeks of guaranteed paid sick leave, as well as increased family leave.
  • Increased support for unemployment benefits.
  • Works to strengthen programs that provide school lunches for students who rely on them.
  • A bump in Medicaid funding.
The President announced national emergency declaration yesterday which would invoke the Stafford Act to allow states to receive $50 billion of additional funding for their state declared emergencies. He also allowed states to utilize their own tests and testing, speeding up the testing process. The first such waiver was for the state of New York. This is an effort to address a critical problem, as no community has sufficient test kits resulting in the only solution being to shut down businesses to avoid greater virus infections. Increased testing allows health care officials to focus attention on key hot areas.
On Thursday, he released details of the Small Business Loan program that will be available for companies and not for profits impacted by the pandemic. In particular the small business loans may be a bridge for companies devastated by the impact of the virus to get by. Michael Best Strategies is well positioned to advise and assist with this program.
Separately he announced an indefinite waiver for interest on student loans to the government. This will provide immediate assistance for those young professionals and their families to keep more money in their pockets. The declaration also directed the Department of Energy to purchase American oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This will make 77 million more barrels available to be purchased, which could assist in stabilizing the oil markets.
We will keep you apprised as more details become available. Another news conference is expected on Sunday evening, March 15. Please let any of our team known if we can advise on best practices or assist in anyway in dealing with the business of this crisis.
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