Special Update: COVID-19 Resources for Transportation Companies
April 13. 2020
The Scopelitis COVID-19 Resource Page offers a COVID-19 Transportation Industry FAQ and other materials to aid transportation clients in managing their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact the Scopelitis COVID-19 Task Force at COVID19@scopelitis.com for information on costs associated with tailoring these materials (if needed), or if you require assistance including but not limited to the following issues:
- Notice to Enforcement Officials of Engagement in Critical and Essential Business. States and municipalities have almost uniformly exempted transportation, logistics, and warehousing operations from shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. Arming your drivers and others who cannot work from home with a notice explaining that they are engaged in critical and essential business activities can help in interactions with law enforcement officers. We have developed forms for employees and owner-operators to be used for this purpose.
- Rapid Response Plan Guidance. You should have a detailed plan in place for how your business will respond to drivers and workers who present with symptoms associated with COVID-19, as well as those who test positive for the disease. We have prepared a comprehensive set of guidelines for consideration in preparing a plan for these circumstances. That guidance takes into account special considerations involving owner-operators and other independent contractors.
- Force Majeure Considerations for Transportation Providers. Everyone is looking at force majeure clauses in their contracts and terms-and-conditions due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this issue for transportation providers. Not only do contract terms vary, but the type of transportation operation at issue impacts the analysis. We have prepared a FAQ for transportation providers that introduces the nuts-and-bolts of this doctrine, applies it to common transportation scenarios, and discusses alternatives to force majeure clauses that may offer similar relief.
- Whitepaper on FMCSA’s Response to COVID-19. FMCSA has been active in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. This whitepaper includes a summary of the actions FMCSA has taken to date in response to the pandemic. It also links to all relevant declarations, orders, waivers, and FAQs.
- Shutdown Order Tracker. Our Task Force is closely monitoring states and municipalities that have issued so-called “shutdown” orders, including shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, with an emphasis on how those orders treat the transportation industry. We are making available a version of this “tracker” to help you keep tabs on the latest developments.
- Facility Access Questionnaire. If you operate facilities with a high volume of foot traffic, whether from drivers or members of the public, you should consider implementing a questionnaire process to help identify visitors who have been sick, have symptoms, or who have traveled to or from areas with significant community spread of the coronavirus. The information captured in this questionnaire can help in implementing a rapid response plan in the event an employee or worker develops COVID-19 or symptoms of the disease.
- Summary of the CARES Act. The CARES Act is a package of new federal programs aimed at relieving the financial distress caused by the pandemic, including the Paycheck Protection Program (loans for small businesses), Economic Injury Disaster Loans, business-tax relief, and employee-retention credits. We have prepared a detailed summary of the act’s key provisions.
- Guidance for Small Trucking Businesses. The financial-relief programs created by the CARES Act can help small trucking businesses, like owner-operators, fleet owners, and settlement carriers. We have prepared guidance that can be shared with these key vendors to help them navigate these programs.
- Summary of the FFCRA and its Implementing Regulations. The FFCRA created new paid sick-leave and emergency FMLA benefits. We have prepared a summary that helps transportation businesses navigate these new requirements in light of regulations recently issued by the U.S. DOL.
- Employee Paid Leave Request Form. We recommend that all employers adopt a uniform method of documenting employee leaves taken under the FFCRA and related laws. We have prepared a form that can serve this purpose in your organization.
Our goal is to swiftly and effectively advise clients on solutions that ensure the unique challenges presented by transportation workers are addressed to strike the needed balance of protecting the workforce while protecting the business. We're here to assist you during this challenging time.