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Governor Cuomo’s April 7th COVID-19 Executive Order and its Impact on the Business and Legal Affairs of New Yorkers

“Update:  The statute of limitations extension discussed below has been extended further by the Governor until August 5, 2020.” 

On April 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.14 (“EO”) as part of New York’s continuing efforts to combat COVID-19.  This new EO affects both individuals and businesses in a variety of ways.

Extension of At-Home Orders

The Governor’s new EO extends the workplace restrictions to and including April 29, 2020.  This means all non-essential businesses must continue to have their employees work from home until the new extension date.  Social gatherings and social events of any size must continue to be postponed until said date as well.  New York’s schools also remained closed through April 29th.  It is also worth noting that the EO contains the power to issue fines to employers and individuals who violate these at-home orders.

Certain “essential” businesses continue to be exempt from this EO such as hospitals and grocery stores.  New York State has already issuance guidance on what constitutes an essential business on the New York State website.

Statute of Limitations Extended

As a quick background, the statute of limitations is a legal doctrine providing various time limits to commence a lawsuit in court on a claim.  The time period to commence a lawsuit depends on the nature of the claim.  My colleagues Megan Thomas and Steve Helmer previously wrote a blog regarding Governor Cuomo’s initial executive order extending the statute of limitations.

The time to commence a lawsuit has been extended from April 19, 2020 to May 7, 2020 under this new EO. So in other words, if a claim was going to expire between March 20, 2020 and now May 6, 2020, it now expires on May 7, 2020.  If you are contemplating commencing litigation against an individual or business, you now have more time to do so.  Obviously, if you are anticipating being sued, this new EO unfortunately gives more time for that to formally happen.  Whenever this statute of limitations extension is over (be it May 7th or a future date), we can anticipate a large influx of new litigation.

If you have any questions on these issues or how COVID-19 affects your litigation matter or business, please consult with your attorney or contact an attorney with the Mackenzie Hughes Task Force.

By: Ryan T. Emery

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Mackenzie Hughes LLP
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