Posted on March 17, 2020

Updated on March 31, 2020

New information and legislation surrounding COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) is coming out daily as the situation rapidly changes. PBPA, with our staff and network of dedicated volunteers, are working to keep you up-to-date on all the legal questions you might have for your nonprofit organization.

• You have lots of questions around the recent Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). You can find a summary of FFCRA in THIS ARTICLE, answers to most of your questions in this FAQ by PBPA or this FAQ by the U.S. Department of Labor, and a form policy to assist your organization’s response to FFCRA HERE.
• For any organizations with fewer than 500 employees, posters must be posted onsite at workplace(s) to notify employees about FFCRA benefits. Notice can be sent to remote employees via email, postal mail, or an internal company website. Read this guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor for more information.
• Georgia made some changes to provide state partial unemployment benefits. Learn more HERE. Learn more about how those benefits are calculated in this order by the Georgia Department of Labor.
• There are many factors to consider as you try to keep your workforce healthy and continue to serve your community. Read these COVID-19: FAQs for Employers for insight on legal requirements and best practices to minimize risk to you & your workforce, as you continue to work towards your mission.
If you have a specific COVID-19 contingency plan or employment question, please reach out to your PBPA attorney.

Additional Questions Answered
How can the CARES Act help my nonprofit? The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law on Friday, March 27 and should provide financial relief to nonprofits in numerous ways. A general summary of available relief is provided here.
Can you provide more specifics about the 100% federally-backed loans available through the CARES Act to nonprofit organizations? Yes we can! More guidance is available here.
Can I get out of my lease if I can’t make lease payments for April, because of COVID related issues? It depends on what’s in your lease. Your contract may include sections regarding force majeure, quiet enjoyment and space that is “untenantable”. More information is available in this article. Reach out to you PBPA attorney to discuss the specifics of your lease.
Can we continue to host our weekly community gatherings or provide services? Governor Kemp has given the Georgia Department of Health authority to close gatherings of more than 10 people, unless they can ensure 6 feet of distance between attendees. Many Atlanta area counties and municipalities have issued even more restrictive shelter-in-place orders. If your organization is not providing “essential services”, then no in-person work should be provided at facilities in areas with shelter-in-place orders. Some examples of essential services include a food bank, residential facility, shelter or healthcare services. Check your city or county’s specific definition of “essential services,” because it does vary.
We had major event planned, can I get my deposit back from the venue? We can’t continue to provide programming due to the shelter-in-place restrictions, can the other party cancel our contract? Your contracts with event service providers or for providing programming services hopefully include force majeure provisions or impossibility clauses, which may excuse contract performance in the event performance becomes impossible (like in a pandemic!). Reach out to your PBPA attorney so we can review the specifics of your contract. Also, reach out to your insurance agent to see what coverage your policies may provide.
Can your healthcare organization use online video platforms for communications with staff, providers and patients? OCR issued a statement that it wouldn’t impose sanctions for use of online platforms such as Skype/FaceTime: Read statement
How does the pandemic affect your obligation to file tax returns? The IRS has established a special web page to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. The web page will be updated as new information becomes available.
How about board meetings? Your board can and should continue conducting its meetings, and they can fulfill this obligation while socially distanced. Read this article on Conducting Board Business Virtually for more guidance.

Additional Resources

• Guidance for Nonprofits

– Georgia Centers for Nonprofits: Nonprofit Guide to COVID Planning
– Venable Webinar: COVID-19: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

• Public Health Guidance: The CDC provides guidance and recommendations for your role as an employer, with Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond, and as an organization serving the community, with Get your Community Organization Ready.