What a long drive the last four weeks have been. Today marks officially marks four weeks for me working from home.

That’s an anniversary that I really didn’t want to celebrate. Sometimes it feels like the road back to “normal” is a long way off.

And perhaps more ominously, Governor Lamont yesterday indicated that he will be signing a new executive order that will mandate that non-essential businesses, including restaurants and bars, must remain closed through at least May 20, 2020.

Obviously, the news that the state is starting to “flatten the curve” is a good one, but like a lot of us, I think businesses are really starting to wonder “What Comes Next”? This piece from New York magazine is a depressing piece about how we are lacking such a plan.

In the meantime, a holiday weekend is upon us and I wish those that celebrate a Happy Easter.

Here are a few other items to know about before you go on your hunt for Easter eggs in your yard and log in to online services.

  • In Executive Order 7W yesterday, Governor Lamont modified existing laws to minimize the impact of the pandemic on an employer’s experience rating before the DOL. Specifically, Governor Lamont’s order states:

Increased Experience Rating Based on COVID-19 Unemployment Claims. Section 31-225a(c)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes is modified to additionally provide, “(L) No base period contributing employer’s account shall be charged with respect to benefits paid to a claimant due to partial or total unemployment that the Commissioner of Labor or his designee determines are attributable to COVID-19, including but not limited to benefits paid to a claimant who, through no fault of his or her own, becomes either partially or fully unemployed during the public health and civil preparedness emergency declared on March 10, 2020, and any period of extension or renewal.” The Commissioner of Labor may issue any implementing orders that he deems necessary to effectuate this order.

  • The Hartford County Bar Association is producing a new webinar on Tuesday April 14, 2020 at 2 p.m. for free on employment law issues arising from the pandemic. I’ll be discussing the recent paid leave provisions of the FFCRA and will be joined by Steven Lattanzio (CTDOL) and Mark Soycher (CBIA) on the panel discussion moderated by Matthew Hallisey.  You should be able to sign up here. 
  • Do you have a contract that you are wondering if you still need to abide by? My colleagues at Shipman & Goodwin LLP have put together a very informative white paper on all you need to know about such contracts including theories of Force Majeure, Impossibility, Impracticality and more.
  • Finally, if you’re in the construction industy, you should be aware that there are new safe workplace rules that specifically apply just to construction sites. My colleagues at Shipman & Goodwin have also put together an update on those workplace rules too.

Again, Happy Passover and Happy Easter!