DOH Permits vs. COVID-19

Originally Published : December 10, 2020

So now we have to wait for the Governor to make the call on closure while we track hospitalization rates and the number of hospitable beds available and new infection rates on rolling averages to try to predict what he is going to do about indoor dining?  One needs a PhD in advanced statistics or maybe applied linguistics in order to decipher Cuomo’s cryptic cries of disaster and figure out what he means when he talks stabilization rates and critical capacity.  If the man has a plan, how about he just tell us exactly what to look for so we can play along? All he told us was that if the regional hospitalization rate has not stabilized by Saturday, he would shut down indoor dining in NYC with no mention of what he means by that. 

In an attempt to crack the Cuomo Code, I have taken to tracking all the pertinent stats at the New York State’s ominously titled Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard:  I assume the Governor is using the same data points so I’m looking every day for upticks or increases or blips or boops to try to predict the day he deems it unsafe to dine indoors.  Since his announcement, all indicators, including the Regional Hospitalization Rate,  have remained relatively steady. A slight increase here and there but nothing substantial.  Is a percentage point increase over five days enough to call it? Is it all just pretense and he’s already decided to close restaurants next week no matter what?  Whatever the case, sharing some more details on the decision-making process would be the humane thing to do.

And what are we waiting for with the stimulus package?  In our latest episode of DC Dingbats, a bipartisan coalition of Sens and Congs has floated a 908 Billion dollar deal with 300 Billion for small business. Good right?  Well,  Cryin’ Mitch and the Sideparts are not feeling it and they are upset that we, in the enemy blue states, would be receiving some of that money. So, it’s a no for them because they also want Covid liability protection for businesses thrown in.  Chuck and Nancy are aghast at that request and will not have it.  So a good ol’ fashioned stalemate is at hand.  But wait, to add to the inanity, here comes Mnooch galloping in on a lame duck to try to save the day.  Well, he’s back and bitter than ever as he threw down a 916 Billion dollar deal on top of the heap that was immediately and roundly ignored, lambasted and ridiculed.  

Anyway, who cares about all the egotistical eggheads in DC and their dramas?  Just get the job done this one time goddamnit. Our lives depend on it for real.  Oh, and they have until December 18th to make a deal before they go home fo the holidays so mark your calendars.

At least Mother Nature is still reliable and straightforward right?  She announced the arrival of winter yesterday with cold rain and snow didn’t she?  Well, kinda.  It’s going to be sunny in the 50’s for the rest of the week.  then mid-40’s next week.  Can anyone at all be straight with us?

DOH Permits on Pause by Alexa Santory, HL Licensing Clerk

If you have a Department of Health permit that expired after March 13, 2020, fear not! They are still valid! The DOH has effectively paused the renewal of any and all permits and licenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Citing the governor’s Executive Order, the DOH is not sending out any renewal forms for permits and licenses until the EO is lifted. From that point, licensees and permit holders will have 45 days to renew. You can still renew these permits now through an online application portal and in-person submissions are by appointment only. As always, if you have any outstanding fines, they must be paid before you renew your permits.
The Department of Health has been tasked with contact tracing efforts throughout the city as well. If you receive a call from the DOH saying they are coming to inspect your business, it is most likely COVID related. Normal health inspections are always random and the DOH will not call you to alert you that they are coming. Still in all, be sure to have your permit and posters up where they need to be and are following all the guidelines that were set forth on your initial inspection!

Firm News

Our clients are always asking us what else we do here at the firm. Today, we will highlight our Litigation Group as the breadth of work that they handle is sometimes hard to pin down.  So, here’s a word from Maya and our talented litigators:

We represent our clients in litigation arising from sophisticated and complex issues. Our Litigation Group is well versed in commercial and business litigation, intellectual property litigation, real estate litigation and employment litigation. Please reach out to us if you are considering initiating or have been sued in a lawsuit relating to the following: breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, partnership or LLC member disputes, trade secret, unfair competition, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, landlord-tenant disputes, escrow disputes, specific performance, wrongful termination, hostile work environment, discrimination on the basis of sex (including pregnancy), age, race, or religion. 

The advantage that our Litigation Practice brings is that our litigators work closely with our Real Estate Practice and Corporate Practice to develop strategic approaches and innovative solutions to address issues that may arise. Our litigators have substantive experience in State, Federal and administrative courts as well as arbitration forums and will guide you through every step of the way to achieve the best result possible. 

New HL Attorneys

We are growing as we continue to handle all things Covid for our clients and as the industry is back on the comeback trail and as we prepare for cannabis this spring.  We are so pleased to introduce you to Hamutal and Bernice, phenomenal attorneys and great people.  Here’s a little bit about them:

Hamutal Lieberman

Hamutal is an associate attorney in our Litigation Group. As a professional problem solver, she focuses on providing practical advice in order to obtain the most efficient and effective resolution possible for our clients. Hamutal is well versed in litigation involving commercial and business disputes, partnership and business divorce, real estate matters, employment disputes, and intellectual property matters.

As a seasoned litigator, she is experienced in all pre-trial, trial, arbitration, and appellate proceedings in State, Federal, and administrative forums. She is also skilled in taking and defending depositions, managing complex discovery, and preparing all pre-trial, trial and arbitration submissions. Fluent in Hebrew, she maintains close ties with Israel and visits frequently.

Bernice Yu

Bernice is an associate attorney in the firm’s Corporate Group.  She counsels clients on a wide range of corporate and transactional matters, including initial formation and structuring, operating and shareholder agreements, capital raising and investor arrangements, and food and beverage management agreements.

Prior to joining the firm, she practiced for six years in the New York and Hong Kong offices of a leading international law firm, where she managed and executed complex deals, primarily for clients in the private equity and financial services industries.  She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and proficient in French. Outside of work, Bernice is an avid scuba diver, traveler, and explorer of the rich, vibrant, and diverse food and beverage establishments of New York.


Should I Stay or Should I Go Now: A Practical Guide to Understanding the 1932-A Decision

As you likely know, the City of New York passed Local Law 1932-A which seeks to limit the personal liability of a guarantor to a commercial lease under certain circumstances.  Shortly after the law was enacted, litigation ensued in Federal Court, challenging its constitutionality.  On November 25, 2020, Federal District Judge for the Southern District of New York, the Honorable Judge Ronnie Abrams, determined (among other things) that 1932-A was constitutional in her decision in Melendez, et al. v. The City of New York, et al.  Great. However, what does this decision mean for New York City’s commercial tenants and guarantors? Practically speaking, how does 1932-A apply to current lease terms and arrears? How can I use 1932-A to negotiate with my landlord? What are the pitfalls that I should be aware of?

Join us on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 11:00 AM for a webinar, hosted by our Litigation Practice Group, including its Chair, Maya Petrocelli, to help you answer the question: Should I Stay or Should I go Now?  Because, as we have seen, “if you go there will be trouble, and if you stay there will be double…”

You can register for the webinar here:

As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would say: “You take it on faith, you take it to heart, the waiting is the hardest part.”