States Take Steps to Reopen

Last week, the White House issued an outline containing a three-phase approach for states to follow as they move to restart activities following the coronavirus pandemic. Before a state moves forward, the administration said it should be seeing a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-like syndromic cases reported over two weeks.

As states reopen, the plan recommends they have plans to:

  • Protect the health and safety of workers in critical industries.
  • Protect the health and safety of those living and working in high-risk facilities (e.g., senior care facilities).
  • Protect employees and users of mass transit.
  • Advise citizens regarding protocols for social distancing and face coverings.
  • Monitor conditions and immediately take steps to limit and mitigate any rebounds or outbreaks by restarting a phase or returning to an earlier phase, depending on severity.

NAIOP is monitoring states’ activities, supporting our chapters to shape policies as governors reopen businesses in phases. States are in different stages in regards to reopening.

For example, Colorado Governor Jared Polis released a “Safer at Home” order last week to explain how businesses may reopen, subject to safety protocols:

  • Retail businesses were allowed to reopen for curbside delivery on April 27, and real estate home showings resumed on that date.
  • Nonessential retailers can publicly open on May 1, if they offer curbside pickup, drive-thru or delivery service.
  • Noncritical commercial businesses can operate with 50% reduced in-person staffing beginning May 4.
  • Residents, particularly senior citizens, are being asked to remain home as much as possible.

Meanwhile, harder-hit New York is moving more cautiously. Governor Andrew Cuomo released a plan to open the state one region at a time, beginning in mid-May.

“Phase one will include restarting construction and manufacturing functions with low risk,” the plan said. “Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered ‘more essential’ with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered ‘less essential’ or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.”

Elsewhere, last week, the federal government provided some guidance about the Paycheck Protection Program, a measure passed last month to support businesses as part of the NAIOP-supported Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The IRS announced that companies that see their loans forgiven cannot file for tax deductions for those wages or associated expenses. “This treatment prevents a double tax benefit,” the Internal Revenue Service said in a notice issued late Thursday.