At Husch Blackwell we understand the financial hardships our startup clients are facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you are facing challenges in your business and would like to recommend that you take a moment to review the questions below as you plan the next steps your startup should take.

Is Your Business is Essential?

As states issue shelter at home orders, businesses deemed non-essential are closing. While guidance varies by state, there are often exemptions for specific essential businesses or those industries supporting essential businesses. If you qualify, you may need to take some steps to confirm your company may remain operational under an exemption and get your workers the proper paperwork to explain why they are out on the streets. You can find the latest guidance for your state at Husch Blackwell’s COVID-19 State-by-State Guidance Resource Center. One of our attorneys can help you to determine and draft any additional documentation needed to support that you are running an essential business.

Is Your Business Eligible for the CARES Act SBA Loan Program?

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the U.S. government to respond with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest economic stimulus plan in history.
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Multiple state governors have issued orders for their residents to shelter at home and for non-essential businesses to close. We expect this to occur in most other states, if not all, in the near term. Although the directives vary from state to state, there is a focus on keeping “essential” businesses and functions operational. How do we know what businesses and services are “essential”?

That question is likely to be up for significant debate; however, guidance has been offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).  Christopher Krebs, Director of CISA, announced in a memorandum that CISA, in collaboration with other federal agencies and the private sector, have developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” This list is designed to assist state, local and tribal officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. 
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Due to its suddenness and severity, overnight the COVID-19 outbreak has rearranged the priorities of corporate legal departments. Things that were of top-of-list importance yesterday have likely been replaced by action items that were inconceivable just a few weeks ago. Additionally, the “all-hands-on-deck” approach to managing the crisis is likely to last for some time and perhaps longer than any of us could have imagined. There are going to be many legal issues of great strategic importance that simply won’t receive the attention they require; likewise, there will be day-to-day issues that could also be overlooked. Environmental monitoring and reporting requirements could be among those.
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