What Is COVID-19?
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, as it is known, is an infectious respiratory disease that spreads through the air. The virus quickly spreads by droplets that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 can also spread when someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms of the disease are similar to the flu and include a dry cough, low-grade fever, and difficulty breathing.
Who Is Most at Risk
Many, if not most, who contract the novel coronavirus will recover within a few weeks. However, these individuals may need to be hospitalized. The primary concern is that the disease presents an increased risk of complications for those over 60, the immunocompromised, and individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions, including:
- Chronic lung conditions
- Serious heart conditions
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
How to Stay Safe
To reduce the spread of the disease and to stay safe, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that everyone:
- Stay at home and self-isolate if they are feeling unwell;
- Cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing;
- Wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap and water;
- Follow social distancing protocol by avoiding close contact (within six feet) with those who may have the virus; and
- Wear a mask to prevent the spread of the virus, even if you do not have symptoms.
Learn More About COVID-19
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, so do suggestions on how to mitigate its spread. To stay on top of all updates, occasionally check the following pages:
- Center for Disease Control COVID-19 webpage
- Center for Disease Control COVID-19 FAQs
- World Health Organization
- Latest COVID-19 statistics
- Information for travelers
- Review Governor Whitmer’s Executive orders
Information Regarding Michigan Courts
Most, Michigan courts are closed, although some emergency proceedings are taking place. Matters that are being heard are primarily being conducted through telephone or video appearances. Below is a list of judicial resources specifically pertaining to Oakland County and the surrounding areas:
- Oakland County Courts website
- Court records for Oakland County
- Press release from the Oakland County Circuit Court discussing which matters are considered “emergency and essential matters.”
- Washtenaw County Courts website containing F.A.Q.s regarding court closures
- Wayne County Courts website discussing court closures and emergency business
- Macomb County press release discussing court functions during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Michigan Supreme Court has issued several administrative orders, clarifying which proceedings can take place and under what circumstances. The Supreme Court’s order is coextensive with Governor Whitmer’s executive order declaring a State of Emergency. Review a list of all the Michigan Supreme Court’s Administrative Orders here.
Information for Individuals and Families
The COVID-19 crisis affects almost every aspect of life in Michigan. Below is a list of resources that may help you and your family find the help you need during this challenging time:
Student Loan Information:
Under the recently passed stimulus bills, many student loan borrowers will have their interest rate reduced to zero, and some will have their loans placed into an emergency forbearance for the next few months. For those who qualify, payments will not need to be made. Learn more about student loan relief by the Federal Student Aid webpage or by contacting your loan provider.
Stimulus Check Information:
Starting in the middle of April, the United States Treasury began issuing stimulus checks to qualifying Americans. Each qualifying individual will receive $1,200, and those with children under 16 will receive $500 per child. Couples can receive up to $2,400 plus $500 per child. However, there are income limits, and individuals and families that make over a certain amount may not qualify or may qualify for a reduced stimulus check. To learn more about the stimulus checks, visit the I.R.S. website. On April 15, 2020, the I.R.S. created a website where individuals can check the status of their stimulus check.
Additional information for Individuals and Families:
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- Families First Coronavirus Relief Act
- Information on paid-leave requirements
- MI Bridges – Healthcare coverage, cash benefits, food assistance program, state emergency relief, child development, and care
- Meet Up & Eat Up – Local School Nutrition
- F.A.Q.s for Michigan employees
- F.A.Q.s relating to schools and universities
- Volunteer opportunities
- Donation opportunities
Support for Michigan Small Businesses:
The COVID-19 pandemic and the strict shelter-in-place order requiring the closure of many businesses has jeopardized many small businesses across the state. Recently, lawmakers have passed a series of bills that provide much-needed help to small business owners. There may also be additional assistance in the upcoming months. Below is a list of resources for Michigan small business owners:
Finding Help Paying Employees During the Crisis
For many small business owners, employees are considered family, and it is difficult to tell loyal, hardworking employees they will no longer be receiving a paycheck. Laying off quality workers can also put a business at risk. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers employers loans to cover payroll during the crisis. If employers can maintain payment throughout the crisis, the loan may be forgiven. Learn more about the PPP here.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Lawmakers understand the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on small businesses due to no fault of the business owner. Thus, under the CARES Act, lawmakers have relaxed the qualifications needed to obtain an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These low-interest loans are for up to $2 million, and most small businesses are eligible, including sole proprietorships, limited liability corporations, independent contractors, and cooperative or employee-owned companies. To learn more about EIDLs, visit the Small Business Association’s website on EIDLs.
Other CARES Act Support for Small Businesses
While the PPP and EIDL programs are the most popular programs, the CARES Act provides additional assistance to business owners. To learn more about what options small business owners have, visit the S.B.A.’s website on the CARES Act.
The Food and Drug Administration set up a webpage discussing best practices for food-service establishments, including restaurants and delivery services. The Center for Disease Control has also assembled a list of suggested practices to protect employees, customers, and society from the further spread of COVID-19.
Additional Information for Small Business Owners:
- Small business self-employed tax center
- Coronavirus tax relief for business and non-profit organizations
- Information on paid-leave requirements
- COVID-19 FAQs for Michigan employers
- Guidance from the Center for Disease Control for business owners
- Additional resources for Michigan businesses can be found here
We Are Here for You During This Difficult Time
At Sommers Schwartz, P.C., we are here to help you through these challenging times should you encounter any employment, business interruption, personal injury, or medical malpractice issues. To discuss your situation with one of our attorneys, contact us at 866-614-4247 to schedule a free consultation. While visits to our physical offices are limited to protect our staff and clients, we are accepting new clients and conducting consultations over the phone or video chat.