As expected, the Governor’s office and the Department of Health (DOH) have released updated guidance to help bars, restaurants, hotels and others implement the updated mitigation orders that will allow many businesses to increase their capacity starting April 4.  Here is a link to the full guidance, as well as a link here for updated FAQ’s issued by the Department of Health, but I highlight a few of the main items below.

Bar Service

You can resume bar service provided you implement the following rules.

  • Patrons must be seated in order to be served.
  • Bar blocks or some type of divider must be used to separate parties. Alternatively, if partitions are not used, then seats between parties must be spaced at least 6 feet apart. If multiple people are in a party, they may sit next to one another at the bar, without 6 feet of space in between.  The 6 feet of space is required between parties, not individuals in the same party.
  • A customer may walk up to the bar in order to purchase food or drink but must then return to their seat in order to consume it.

Continue Reading Updated Restaurant Guidance for April 4th Increased Capacity

Background

On January 1, 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (the “Defense Bill”) was enacted into law. This Defense Bill contained the Corporate Transparency Act (the “Act”).  The Act is designed to collect beneficial ownership information for Reporting Companies for several specific reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Protecting the United States’ national security interest
  • Protecting interstate and foreign commerce
  • Assisting critical national security, intelligence, and law enforcement efforts to counter money laundering, financing of terrorism, and other illegal activities.

What is a Reporting Company?

Generally, an entity is considered a Reporting Company if it is:
Continue Reading The Corporate Transparency Act: What Does it Mean for Your Small Business

Good news for procrastinators!  The IRS is extending the filing deadline for 2020 tax returns that would have been due on April 15, 2021.  The new deadline will be May 15, 2021.

May 15th is a Saturday, so taxpayers will have until May 17th to file their 2020 tax returns.

The IRS decided to change the due date after an already complicated tax year was further complicated by the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, which made substantial changes to the tax code.

Pennsylvania has also extended the deadline to file to May 17, 2021.

One year ago today, on March 18, 2020, Aaron Marines wrote a blog article entitled How Does Coronavirus Affect Your Contracts? When that article was published, we were at the beginning of a government-mandated shutdown that was supposed to last for two weeks, just long enough to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases.

Now, one year later, with shut down orders still partially in effect and the phrase “flatten the curve” a distant memory, I decided to look back at what has happened on the Lancaster Law Blog. What I saw was a variety of articles about all of the things we here at Russell, Krafft & Gruber have done to stay up-to-date on the fast-paced changes to help our clients through this difficult time.

Virtual Offices

After the initial shutdown orders took effect, we quickly pivoted to working remotely through Russell, Krafft & Gruber’s virtual office to avoid any lapses in service for our clients. I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke with a client recently who was shocked to learn that most of our conversations over the past year took place with me at my dining room table.
Continue Reading COVID-19 and the Law: One Year Later

The Governor’s office has just announced that bars and restaurants can, starting at midnight on April 4, 2021, begin operating at 75% capacity, provided they have completed the self-certification process.

Self-Certification to Increase Capacity

For those that didn’t self-certify, that process is done online and requires you to certify that you will comply with CDC and Department of Health guidance relating to public health and safety measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. If you have not self-certified (and do not wish to now), you will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Currently, locations that don’t self-certify must operate at 25% capacity.

Regardless of whether you have self-certified or not, requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing still apply.
Continue Reading Increased Occupancy up to 75% for Bars and Restaurants in PA – Effective April 4

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus act into law known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”). While it would be impossible to do a deep dive into this massive stimulus package, here are some quick takeaways for individuals.

Stimulus Checks

The Act will provide payments to approximately 159 million American households that will start to go out on March 13, 2021.  The maximum amount per person is $1,400, including dependents.

The amount distributed will, again, be based on adjusted gross income and will have a phase-out period. Here’s who will receive the full amount:

  • individuals who earn up to $75,000
  • head of household filers with income of up to $112,500 and
  • married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $150,000

Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What Does It Mean For You?

At the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, airlines began changing their rules with respect to emotional support animals.  United, American, Delta, Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines (as well as many local and regional air carriers) have decided that emotional support animals are not permitted on flights.  Trained service dogs, however, are still permitted on flights.

Despite these recent changes, the rules that apply to airlines are not the same as the ones that apply to housing.  I have written a number of posts about emotional support animals and where they can go:

These blog posts cover situations when someone requests an emotional support animal in relation to housing.  These cases often come up when a condominium or apartment building does not permit pets and someone requests a reasonable accommodation to allow a support animal.

In today’s post, I want to make sure that associations and landlords do not get confused and try to follow the recent examples of the airlines.
Continue Reading Are Dogs Allowed on Airlines? An Update on Emotional Support Animals

Child support is an area of the law where the outcome is a moving target. Throughout the course of a child’s minority, the amount of child support at issue can regularly change based on the parents’ financial positions and other circumstances, such as the custody schedule.

We regularly meet not only with clients who are filing for child support for the first time, but also with those who wish to modify the amount of child support they are receiving or paying due to a change of circumstances. In both situations, you will be discussing similar information.

But what information should you prepare prior to meeting with an attorney to make the most out of your child support initial consultation?
Continue Reading How to Make the Most Out of Your Child Support Initial Consultation

For many parents, taking the first step to meet with an attorney to discuss custody of your children can be a scary and lonely process, especially if you have never worked with an attorney before. This article will provide information about what to expect during a custody initial consultation and how to make the most of that time.

At Russell, Krafft & Gruber, we view the initial consultation as the first substantive opportunity to meet with a client to gather as much information as possible and prepare a game plan for what will happen next. In custody cases, that involves discussing details about you, your children, the opposing party, and your goals concerning the custody of your children.

Information to Bring

The following is a list of information you should have prepared before you meet with your attorney for an initial consultation:

Continue Reading Child Custody Initial Consultations: How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting with Your Lawyer

On February 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it will begin to enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  This is a significant change because in many states, including Pennsylvania, a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identification has not been treated as a protected class.

Moving forward, housing providers, like landlords and condominium and homeowners’ associations, will need to treat sexual orientation and gender identity the same way that they treat race, color, gender, nationality, disability and familial status.

Reasonable Accommodations

Most of my posts on Lancaster Law Blog that deal with the Fair Housing Act talk about emotional support animals. All of the emotional support animal stories involve someone with a disability requesting a reasonable accommodation.
Continue Reading The Fair Housing Act Will Enforce Prohibition on Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity