Joel Simon: Christian, you have a really great practice with an emphasis on two industries, one of which seems relatively insulated by the unusual circumstances we’re facing today and the other which has been rocked pretty hard. It’s the second one I’d like to focus on today. Can you start us off with a brief discussion of the status of the hotel business and what a recovery might look like for that sector?
With the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to be felt by the American public, the Trump Administration has taken steps to try to allay a coming eviction crisis by enacting a moratorium on evictions through the end of 2020. With the first eviction moratorium instituted by the CARES Act expiring, lawmakers have been pushing to include eviction protections in the next COVID-19 relief package. However, with Congressional leaders still far from an agreement on the next bill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now used its emergency pandemic powers under the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions.
The past few months saw, and continue to see, significant disruptions to the real estate market and the real estate finance market in particular. According to Trepp LLC, June saw the delinquency rate for commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) loans hit 10.32 percent, which is just shy of the peak delinquency rate for CMBS loans in 2012 (or a full four years following the 2007 – 2008 recession). That we could have nearly reached the 2012 peak so quickly—given the last time lag between a recession and peak delinquencies—has caused some investors to worry that much worse is yet to come. These numbers also cause certain investors to question whether CMBS disclosures may have been overly optimistic or failed to properly disclose risks. At the same time, regulated mortgage lenders, which must project losses, are assuming losses at approximately two percent on average.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. economy, restaurateurs and bar owners are feeling the brunt of business closures and adaptations necessary to combat the disease. Where cozy and intimate dining was once de rigueur for the restaurant industry, these businesses must now shift to outdoor dining with adequate space and airflow between parties. In response to these concerns, many cities across the country who once fought against the loss of any parking have turned to a post-automobile tactic: outdoor dining in thoroughfares and parking lots. While at first glance it might seem a simple enough prospect—throw some chairs and a table out front, and voilà—property owners and restaurateurs must remain cognizant of various liability and regulatory hurdles for operating outside.
District of Columbia enacts legislation to provide up to $100 million in grants to eligible businesses for up to 15% of revenue lost due to COVID-19 during the quarter ending June 2020. Landlords can receive grants to partially support their help to eligible tenant businesses. In “District of Columbia Enacts $100 Million Grant Program for Businesses Hurt by COVID-19,” colleagues David L. Miller and Zachary D. Bailey discuss the new legislation.
In most states, the force majeure event must have proximately caused the delay or deficiency in performance. In Tour de Force: When Is COVID-19 the Cause of Nonperformance?, colleagues Andrew C. Smith, Anne C. Lefever, Brian L. Beckerman, Adam R. Poliner, Stephanie S. Gomez, Colin Davis, and how causation considerations may impact force majeure claims in the COVID-19 era.
Virginia has adopted statewide emergency workplace safety standards, the first in the nation, to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In client alert “Virginia Adopts First COVID-19 Workplace Safety Mandates“, colleagues Mario F. Dottori, Julia E. Judish, discuss the Coronavirus-related workplace safety mandates adopted by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Illinois Governor’s Executive Order prohibited sale of food or beverages for on-premises consumption held to partially excuse restaurant tenant’s rent payment obligations. In “Court Holds COVID-19 Executive Order Triggers Lease’s Force Majeure Clause, Excusing Some Rent Obligations,” colleagues David L. Miller, Patrick J. Potter, Jessica H. Lee, and
Newly published DoD Guidance for Contracting Officer Assessment of Other COVID-19 Related Impacts and Costs provides answers on how contractors can seek reimbursement for cost and delay impacts associated with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleagues Brian P. Cruz and Kevin J. Slattum discuss in DoD Memorandum Discusses Contractor Reimbursement for COVID-19 Expenses.
In this blog post, colleagues, Joel M. Simon, Matthew Oresman, Kenneth Suh, Russell DaSilva, and Gloria H. Kim provide a simplified decision tree to assist you in making a selection that is right for your business. The flowchart presented here highlights certain differences between the facilities (however, not all requirements for each facility are addressed).