COVID-19 State and Local Government Issues

State and local governments are playing key roles in the response to COVID-19. Nearly every state has issued general lockdown and stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of the disease, and the direction of specific local and state government directives and guidance is being closely observed at the national level. This patchwork of individual orders is ever-changing as each state and locality adjusts to its particular circumstances, with some amending their orders and some lifting them altogether.

As local and state responses to the public health crisis continue to dominate day-to-day business and personal living decisions and planning, our government and regulatory practice offers deep experience in state government policy, decision making and crisis management, particularly in California and New York. Manatt’s team is here to get answers for you, provide actionable intelligence, and ensure your needs can be met and your voice can be heard throughout the crisis and beyond.

Key Issues to Consider

Ensuring Essential Services During the Economic Shutdown Caused by COVID-19
The Issue: States have widely restricted public access to retail and service offerings, but many businesses need to remain operational in order to provide goods and services to the public. How Manatt Can Help: Manatt works with policymakers to ensure the public has access to the necessary and “essential” goods and services offered by our clients.
Positioning Businesses to Weather the Coronavirus Economic Shutdown
The Issue: Businesses and nonprofit organizations are under enormous stress due to the economic shutdown in various states. Many are seeking temporary or permanent tax and regulatory relief, grants, affordable loans, liability protection, workable social distancing regulations, or other measures to remain operational or to be able to return to business once the crisis has abated. How Manatt Can Help: Most states are looking beyond the important federal stimulus measures to see what else they can do to provide additional immediate and long-term relief for businesses and nonprofits that will put workers back on the payroll and restore economic activity. Manatt can help ensure that in the rush to enact general recovery measures, legislators and state executives don’t miss details crucial to our clients’ success.
Helping Understand How City, County and State Orders Are Interpreted and Relate to One Another
The Issue: There is a formidable and growing body of new and urgent state and local government orders that can prove too numerous and complicated—for tracking, interpretation and compliance—especially in light of weekly and daily updates to existing guidance. How Manatt Can Help: Manatt closely follows activities at the local, city and county levels, particularly in New York and California, and is monitoring, compiling, and interpreting rules, regulations and ordinances. We can provide advice and guidance on the interplay of the various local executive orders and directives and those coming from the state.
Helping Identify, Secure and Defend State and Local ‘Essential Business’ Approvals or Waivers
The Issue: Certain businesses that provide essential infrastructure or life-sustaining services are exempt from lockdowns and stay-at-home orders or may otherwise be allowed to continue their operations if they have obtained the appropriate approvals or waivers. While national guidance has been issued on what defines essential critical infrastructure, states are not required to follow it. Many businesses need assistance in evaluating the implications of these state and local orders. How Manatt Can Help: Manatt has a multidisciplinary team of attorneys and consultants who are closely monitoring this fluid situation. We have an extensive network and long-standing relationships with officials at every level of government—including those with jurisdiction over water, power, transportation, local government services, infrastructure and development projects, healthcare, and financial services—and can provide advice and guidance on the interplay of the various local executive orders and directives and those coming from the state or federal level.

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