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Coronavirus Updates for the Community Action Network

In light of increasing concerns about a broader coronavirus outbreak and the impacts on normal business operations, CAPLAW has compiled resources that are particularly relevant to the Community Action network. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will update this page as new developments occur, particularly when federal awarding agencies issue program-specific guidance.

Last updated December 1, 2021

Upcoming Webinars

Head Start Issues Vaccine Rule; Masking Required Immediately
Presented by:
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Time: 2:00-3:30 pm EST
The Office of Head Start has released its long-awaited vaccination mandate (the Rule), which will be published as an interim final rule with comment period in the Federal Register on November 30, 2021. The Rule amends the Head Start Program Performance Standards to require masking for individuals aged two and older. It also requires vaccination for all Head Start staff, contractors whose activities involve contact with or providing direct services to children and families, and volunteers working in classrooms or directly with children. Click here for CAPLAW’s summary of some of the major points regarding the Rule and its implementation.

Archived Webinars

Template COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Policies and Step-by-Step Compliance Guide for Community Action
Presented by:
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
CAPLAW recently issued a step-by-step compliance guide to help the Community Action network navigate the employee vaccination mandates announced by OSHA, Head Start, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In this resource we describe the planning process your CAA should consider as you develop and update your policies to reflect the new requirements. We also provide two template policies to assist your CAA in complying with the new mandates: a mandatory vaccination policy and a policy requiring vaccinations or allowing employees to choose weekly COVID-19 testing and face coverings.

Special Conversation with CAPLAW: OSHA and CMS Vaccine Mandates
Presented by:
Friday, November 5, 2021
The highly-anticipated OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandates have been issued. Both rules are expected to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, and they will take effect immediately upon publication. Under the OSHA ETS, employers with 100 or more employees must ensure their workers are either fully vaccinated or are submitting negative COVID-19 tests at least once a week by January 4, 2022. The separate CMS vaccine mandate applies to all employees at health care facilities that receive federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid, and it also requires employees to be vaccinated by January 4, 2022. The CMS vaccine mandate does not give employees the option to test weekly in lieu of getting vaccinated.

Conversations with CAPLAW: Vaccines and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Facilitated by:
Fridays in October 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, continuing to impact our communities and workplaces, new legal considerations have surfaced and are evolving. The recently announced Head Start and OSHA vaccine and testing mandates will impact CAA workplace policies and operations, and many agencies are trying to chart the best course forward. To help the Community Action network navigate this constantly shifting landscape, CAPLAW hosted a weekly series of conversations where we discussed legal questions we’ve received about the COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates, medical and religious accommodations, vaccination incentive policies, and more. We also identified major unanswered questions as we await additional guidance from the federal agencies.

Weatherproofing CAA Bylaws
Presented by:
Eleanor Evans, Hemenway & Barnes LLP, and Jonathan Cohen, CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, May 20, 2021
As we have seen recently, unexpected emergencies can pose governance challenges for organizations, especially with respect to bylaws compliance. During the pandemic, CAAs, like many organizations, relied on counsel to help them navigate a number of bylaws provisions relating to meetings, board member selection, actions, and more so that vital governance and operational functions could continue. In this webinar we discuss how attorneys can assist CAAs in reviewing, interpreting, and, when necessary, updating their bylaws. We also reference and discuss key issues and considerations included in CAPLAW’s new emergency bylaws resource, Weatherproofing CAA Bylaws: Preparing for Emergency Governance.


Lifting the Low-Income Voice: CAAs Discuss Democratic Selection Procedures in the Pandemic
Facilitated by: CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, May 20, 2021
The democratically selected low-income representative sector of the tripartite board is one of the hallmarks of Community Action, but recruiting and electing new board members in this sector during the pandemic has presented serious challenges. CAPLAW recently highlighted creative and responsive democratic selection procedures, including adaptations due to COVID-19, in Raising the Low-Income Voice: Case Studies in Democratic Selection Procedures. We also issued a supplemental resource, Preserving the Low-Income Voice: Snapshots of Democratic Selection Procedures in a Pandemic, featuring additional examples of innovative and successful processes developed by CAAs in the midst of the pandemic. Many of the agencies we interviewed revealed that these adaptations resulted in a more effective, streamlined process that enabled additional community members to participate. While we hope you will read the resource online, we also want you to hear directly from the agencies themselves. This webinar features conversations with staff members from two of the profiled agencies. We discuss the agencies’ existing democratic selection procedures, the impact of the pandemic, and how their processes adapted in response to the crisis.
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Reviewing and Negotiating Cloud Services Agreements
Facilitated by: CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, May 13, 2021
If your CAA wasn’t already using cloud-based services before the COVID-19 pandemic, chances are that has changed. But do you understand the terms governing your use of those services and the rights that the service provider has to the information your CAA stores in the cloud? Do your agreements cover issues such as service levels and credits, backup policies, and what happens to your data when the agreement terminates? And perhaps the biggest question of all, how can small organizations approach negotiating cloud services agreements with large vendors? Alicia Gilleskie is a former partner at one of North Carolina’s largest law firms, and her expertise spans commercial contracting, data and IP ownership, and licensing matters. Attendees joined this session to ask her their questions about what to look for in a cloud services agreements and best practices for utilizing cloud-based tools.

Privacy Rights of Employees in the Hybrid Workplace
Facilitated by: CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021
Despite social distancing measures and remote work arrangements, it sometimes feels like employees are sharing more of their lives than ever with their employers. From glimpses into their homes on video conferences to symptom questionnaires and temperature checks at the office, COVID-19 has created novel scenarios that raise legal questions about employers’ obligations to protect the privacy and information of their employees. Ed Leeds is Counsel in the Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation, Privacy and Data Security, and Health Law practice groups, and he has expertise regarding employers’ privacy obligations with regard to their health plans, particularly those concerning HIPAA. Shannon Farmer is a partner in Ballard Spahr’s Labor and Employment, Litigation, Health Care, and Education Practice Groups, with expertise in advising and training employers on labor and employment disputes, wage and hour matters, discrimination, employee leave, and more. Attendees joined this session to ask them questions about legally collecting or retaining employee information, and managing the risks associated with doing so.


Privacy Rights of Clients
Facilitated by: CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021
In dealing with the pandemic over the past year, CAAs have discovered resourceful and creative ways to connect with their communities via their websites, social media, videoconferencing software, and other forms of remote interaction and outreach. While these measures have helped to safely maintain CAAs’ relationships with their communities and other external parties, they have also created new relationships between CAAs and other parties’ private data and information. Eleanor Evans is counsel in the Nonprofit Representation, Government and Administrative Law, and Business Law groups at Hemenway & Barnes LLP. As the former Executive Director and General Counsel of CAPLAW, she has years of experience advising CAAs on the legal requirements related to their role as human services providers. Attendees joined this session to ask her about best practices for collecting, storing, and disseminating private data gathered online from clients and other external parties.


Cybersecurity and Data Protection
Facilitated by: CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a massive proliferation of cyber-attacks, with the transition to remote work leaving employers more vulnerable than ever to malware, phishing scams, and ransomware. Grant-funded nonprofits are attractive targets, since they maintain a trove of personal information about clients, employees, volunteers, and donors. Forrest Kasler, CPA, is a financial auditor with CliftonLarsenAllen LLP who has IT expertise and practical knowledge of how hackers attack organizations and access sensitive data. Participants attended this session to ask him questions about the latest techniques being used by cyber criminals, what organizations can do to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack, and the consequences of a data breach.

Making Remote Work Work: Policies and Pitfalls
Presented by: Megan Bisk, Ropes & Gray LLP, and Ted Faust, CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2021
A successful remote work arrangement requires that employees and their employer both understand their roles and obligations. Therefore, a clear, thorough, and easy-to-understand remote work policy is a key component of a successful remote work arrangement. As important as such a policy may be, it can be difficult to know what to include – and what not to include – to ensure it sets realistic expectations so it can be easily followed and implemented. In this webinar, we review CAPLAW’s new sample remote work policy and discuss ways in which CAAs and employees may take advantage of the flexibilities inherent to certain recommended policy provisions.
Download Slides | Download Sample Policy


Working Remotely or Remotely Working? Promoting Employee Productivity in a Pandemic
Presented by: Mark J. Jacobs, Fisher Phillips, LLP
Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021
As many CAAs implement hybrid work arrangements, with some employees working remotely and others on-site, they have encountered new challenges related to successfully motivating, evaluating, and disciplining their employees. In this session, we explore the impact of partially remote workforces on an employer’s ability to manage employee expectations and performance, and discuss how performance evaluations, disciplinary measures, accommodation requests, leave policies, and other constructive employer-employee communication practices have evolved to adapt to the ways in which CAAs are operating.
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Home Sweet Office: Promoting a Safe and Well-Functioning Hybrid Workplace
Presented by: Rick Pins and Brittany Barrientos, Stinson LLP
Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Federal wage and hour, workers’ compensation, and safety laws are integral to maintaining safety and wellbeing in the workplace. However, given the unorthodox nature of many remote work arrangements, it can be hard to know exactly how these laws should be applied to a remote workforce. Payment of exempt employees, tracking non-exempt time, and other familiar tasks in traditional workspaces can seem alien and difficult to navigate in the context of remote or hybrid work arrangements. Furthermore, ensuring employee safety often involves making tough decisions that could result in layoffs or furloughs that trigger employer responsibilities under federal and state notice laws like the WARN Act. In this session, we address wage and hour laws, workers’ compensation, OSHA, and other employment law issues and discuss how they apply to remote working.
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Tax and Accounting Compliance from a (Social) Distance
Presented by: Christopher Jones, Ballard Spahr LLP, and Denes Tobie, Wipfli LLP
Date: Thursday, February 25, 2021
Tax laws and accounting rules can be difficult to understand and navigate, even outside of a global pandemic. As CAAs continue to adopt remote work arrangements, the tax implications of moving employees out of the physical workplace and across state borders may not be immediately apparent. In this session, we discuss a variety of issues pertaining to how state and federal tax laws may apply to a CAA that has implemented a remote work arrangement. We also address the rules that finance departments may run into as they oversee the transition to a remote or hybrid workplace.
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A Shot in the Arm or a Shot in the Foot? How to Think about Employee Vaccination Policies
Presented by: Emily Schifter, Jessica Rothenberg, and Richard Gerakitis, Troutman Pepper LLP
Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
As numerous COVID-19 vaccines become available and accessible to the workforce, CAAs across the country are considering whether they have the right to require that their employees be vaccinated and whether other options are available to encourage voluntary vaccinations. Understanding the legal questions associated with implementing an employee vaccination policy is key to ensuring that such a policy effectively protects your employees and your community. In this webinar, we discuss some of the legal issues associated with employee vaccination policies, including protections afforded certain industries for vaccination program planners, plus addressing how to evaluate reasonable accommodations, direct threat analysis, and liability for adverse events stemming from vaccinations.
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Employee Benefits and the Consolidated Appropriations Act: What Employers and Benefits Professionals Need to Know About the New Law
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021
At the end of 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA). Known popularly as the “Covid Relief Bill,” the CAA contains a number of provisions that are important to employers and benefits professionals. This webinar discussed those provisions and their impact on retirement plans and health and welfare plans.


Free Speech in the COVID-19 Workplace
Presented by: Troutman Pepper
Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic now extending into the fall and the presidential election fast approaching, tensions are high and employees are speaking out about issues of critical societal importance. Inevitably some of these employees will cross the line and say or post statements that are objectively offensive or violate workplace rules such as policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Others may say or do things that undermine an employer’s efforts to combat COVID-19 and comply with government ordered mandates designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This webinar addresses free speech rights in the workplace, the July 2020 NLRB Decision in General Motors modifying the standard for determining whether employees have been lawfully disciplined or discharged after making abusive or offensive statements in the course of otherwise protected activity, handling employee communications about hot button issues on social media and elsewhere, and enforcing virus precautions.


Joining Forces: Evaluating Merger Opportunities
Presented by: Eleanor Evans, Hemenway & Barnes LLP
Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Now more than ever, CAAs are thinking about innovative ways to maximize their impact while conserving resources. One method for doing so is a merger with another CAA or nonprofit organization. CAPLAW is issuing a new merger decision-making tool that helps CAA leaders understand critical issues in the process and how to approach potential steps to explore a merger partnership. The tool discusses key questions that should be addressed internally and with potential partners before proceeding. This webinar discusses the new tool and how a CAA’s management team and board members can best use it to evaluate possible strategic collaborations.
View Powerpoint | View Tool | View Appendices


The Spectrum of Federally Qualified Health Center Opportunities: From Direct Designation to Collaboration
Presented by: Ted Waters and Carrie Riley, Feldsman Tucker Leifer Fidell
Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2020
Reductions in funding and reimbursement have made it increasingly challenging for Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to furnish critical outpatient health care services to their high need and often medically underserved communities. For many CAAs, structuring certain health care lines of business to operate as a federally qualified health center (FQHC), or otherwise affiliating with an FQHC, can be an effective strategy to achieve financial stability, reach new patient populations, and expand access to a broader scope of services. In addition, FQHC status can leverage other associated benefits, including but not limited to Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement in accordance with the prospective payment system. It is critical that CAAs understand the core FQHC requirements before implementing an FQHC strategy. For example, FQHCs must furnish certain required primary and preventive health services and maintain a schedule of fee discounts for patients who are at or under 200% of the federal poverty level. There are also unique requirements applicable to public agencies, such as public hospitals. This 90-minute webinar provides useful guidance for CAAs regarding the spectrum of FQHC opportunities, with a focus on the process and mandates to achieve direct designation.
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Fundraising in a Virtual World During COVID-19
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, September 24, 2020
In this new world, nonprofits are being forced to think creatively about other ways to raise funds. This program addresses solicitation of online donations, participation in e-commerce-only charitable sales promotions, virtual donor engagement events, and other corporate partnerships, and discusses the legal boundaries that nonprofits should be aware of when engaging in these activities. It highlights the regulatory, tax, and practical considerations raised by these online activities and provides nonprofits with a framework and legal benchmarks to consider before moving forward.


To Reopen or Not to Reopen? How COVID-19 Impacts Nonprofits’ Decision to Return to the Office
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, August 6, 2020
As the country reopens, many nonprofits are considering whether to reopen or already have begun to reopen their physical workspaces. Given the COVID-19-related risks associated with such reopenings, taking steps to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees and ensuring compliance with applicable laws are paramount. This program covers what nonprofits should think about when making the decision to reopen their office and, if they choose to reopen, the measures they should take to minimize potential liability. This webinar specifically covers how to decide whether an office reopening is the right choice for your nonprofit, steps to take before you reopen your office, ways to address employee concerns with your office reopening, and how to manage employee data related to your office reopening, including information covered by ADA and HIPAA.


Managing Business Risk in the COVID-19 Era: Contracts and Insurance Trends
Presented by: Hemenway & Barnes LLP
Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Organizations are facing increased liability and risk exposure in the time of COVID-19. This webinar explores the legal and insurance ramifications of managing business risk in the current environment and mitigating risk in the future.


Nonprofit Enforcement in the Time of COVID: A Virtual Fireside Chat with State Regulators
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, June 10, 2020
In this month’s presentation, Venable LLP is joined by three of the nation’s most active state charity regulators – including the current president of the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) – in a discussion on enforcement activity in the nonprofit sector. The panelists will provide lessons learned from NASCO’s recently issued annual report, as well as an update on enforcement against public charities, fundraisers, and foundations in the era of COVID-19. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear directly from top charity law enforcement officials on all that is unfolding at the moment.


Fiscal Management During the COVID-19 Emergency: A Follow-Up Conversation
Presented by: Office of Head Start
Date: Friday, May 29, 2020
Head Start grantee agecies have many questions about appropriate fiscal management during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency.This session is a follow-up to Fiscal Management During the COVID-19 Emergency, which was held on Friday, May 22, 2020. OHS leadership will respond to your questions about fiscal management, Information Memorandum (IM) 20-03, and Program Instruction (PI) 20-04. The recording will be available to watch on-demand until June 15, 2020. A version with English closed captions will also be posted on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC), 10–15 days after the event.


The Evolving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): How to interpret the forgiveness application and what to expect for next steps
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020
Since the enactment of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of the Treasury have continually updated the rules governing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through interim rules and less formal guidance. And, recently, the SBA has released an application for borrowers that intend to seek forgiveness of their PPP loans. Join us for a discussion of the most recent PPP developments, including how to interpret the forgiveness application and what we expect the government’s next steps will be as the PPP evolves.


Building Readiness: Reopening Our Doors
Presented by: CAPLAW
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2020
As organizations across the Community Action network begin to reopen their doors to resume operations and services disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, it is critical to thoughtfully consider issues that are likely to arise and plan carefully to adjust to the new normal. The concerns that each Community Action Agency (CAA) faces will depend in large part on the issues specific to its community, including any local and state guidance for reopening, and are likely to evolve over time. CAPLAW developed the Building Readiness: Reopening Our Doors Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource in an attempt to anticipate and address many of the questions on the forefront of CAAs’ planning efforts. Join us as we discuss how to the use the guidance in this resource to assess the legal risks associated with resuming operations, weigh those risks against other important interests of your CAA, and make better-informed decisions.
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The SBA’s PPP: How to Prepare for a Potential Audit
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Since the enactment of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of the Treasury have continually updated the rules governing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through formal rulemaking and less formal guidance. Join a team of Venable Financial Services and Corporate partners for a discussion around guidance for preparing for an audit (and potential investigation). Our discussion includes best practices for documenting decision making, what we can expect from the SBA going forward, and how best to manage an audit and address any potential investigation.


Building Resiliency and Preparing for Our Moment Part Two
Presented by: Wipfli
Date: Friday, April 24, 2020
In the second webinar in our series, Wipfli helps Head Start and Community Action Agencies identify and discuss key questions that will allow organizations to be more resilient and agile as they come through the current crisis. The presentation looks through the lenses of technology, workforce and risk and define what might look different in each aspect, considering the crisis response services the networks are and will be providing, additional stimulus funding and shifting requirements. Both networks believe this is our moment, so how can we prepare for our moment?


Building Resiliency and Preparing for Our Moment Part One
Presented by: Wipfli
Date: Friday, April 17, 2020
In the first webinar of this series, Wipfli helps Head Start programs and Community Action Agencies identify and discuss key questions that will allow organizations to be more resilient and agile as they come through the current crisis.


CARES Act Loans and Tax Credits for Nonprofit Organizations
Presented by: CAPLAW
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, offers various forms of aid to nonprofit Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and other members of the Community Action network whose operations have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The CARES Act makes partially-forgivable loans and grants from the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury available to qualifying nonprofit organizations. The CARES Act also offers payroll tax credits for employers that keep paying their employees despite total or partial suspension of operations due to COVID-19, and pushes back the deadline for certain 2020 payroll taxes altogether. This webinar discusses the details of the new law and identify key considerations for nonprofit CAAs and network organizations seeking to take advantage of these benefits.
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Employee Benefits in the Time of COVID-19: What Should Employers Know?
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Friday, April 3, 2020
This webinar recording discusses the legislative changes and practical considerations related to employee benefits during the COVID-19 crisis, including legislative changes to retirement and health benefits, as well as executive compensation. It also addresses some of the most common employer concerns, including mid-year cessation of employer retirement contributions, impact of furloughs on retirement plan eligibility and loan repayments, retirement plan “partial termination” due to furlough and employment termination, continued health benefits for furloughed employees, permitted changes in cafeteria elections due to work at home, and reporting techniques if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.


A Virtual Fireside Chat with Nonprofit Association CEOs: How to Navigate COVID-19 Crises
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched the world in new and unforeseen ways, brought out the best in some, highlighted weaknesses in processes that have worked well for years, and brought on unprecedented financial hardship. This webinar recording features two partners in Venable’s Nonprofit Practice Group, who have been helping clients navigate this crisis, chatting with two leading association CEOs about how they’ve led their organizations through the initial wave of change. How have they adapted their organizations? How have they approached major decisions about events and programs? How have they motivated employees who can’t come into the office? What about managing finances while facing the reality of decreasing revenue? How have they been partnering with members to help them through tough times? How are they planning for the future? This virtual fireside chat will help you to think creatively about your leadership style, give you ideas for thinking through the tough issues, and offer an opportunity to hear from peers about how to lead your association through these turbulent times and beyond.


Paid Leave Under COVID-19 Response Act: What CAAs Need to Know
Presented by: CAPLAW
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law. Effective April 2, 2020, the Act requires employers to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave to employees forced to miss work for qualifying reasons due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Act also expands the federal Family and Medical Leave Act by providing paid leave to employees who are unable to work or telework because they are caring for a minor child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to a public health emergency. These provisions will remain in effect until December 31, 2020.
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What Employers Should (and Should Not) Say to Employees to Manage the Challenges of the Coronavirus
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Thursday, March 12, 2020
The coronavirus (COVID-19) presents many new challenges for employers. Whether instituting a ban on work-related travel, responding to an employee’s request for medical leave, or working through an office closure, employers must communicate carefully with their staff about coronavirus-related issues. This webinar will address the dos and don’ts of employer communications about the coronavirus.


COVID-19: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know
Presented by: Venable LLP
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020
This webinar addressed legal issues that can arise with COVID-19, and covered questions about workers, contracts, insurance, events, travel, and workplace situations.