Reopening America: Protecting Employees as They Return to Work During COVID-19

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Social Distancing Measures

May 29, 2020
by Sarah Wetter

Across America, governments are allowing businesses to reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Employees may be eager to return to their jobs and income, but could be at heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission. The "return to work" push is emerging with employees bringing various legal claims. Meanwhile, legislation is arising that could immunize companies complying with state-level or CDC reopening guidance. Yet adhering to guidance is not a foolproof guard against COVID-19, especially as the White House refused to implement CDC’s specific guidelines for reopening businesses such as restaurants, child care centers, churches, and schools. This blog examines legal claims available to employees returning to work and how new legislation could impact public health.

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Drug Enforcement Administration Waives Some Barriers to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Harm Reduction Legal ProjectSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHealth and Health Care

May 20, 2020
by Corey Davis

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has temporarily waived or clarified several regulations that may act as barriers to providing life-saving medications to those undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These changes have the potential to dramatically increase access to these medication and the DEA should strongly consider extending many of these changes for the duration of the opioid public health emergency, which will remain even after the threat from COVID-19 subsides.

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Disappearing Public Toilets, Public Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Neighborhood and Built Environment

May 6, 2020

Frequent hand washing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19, yet not everyone has easy access to running water. Lack of toilet facilities contributes to a variety of illnesses and can trigger outbreaks of contagious diseases, like Hepatitis A. Along with the homeless, others, including taxi drivers, utility workers, gas and electric service workers, people doing street repair, and people with certain medical conditions can encounter difficulty accessing toilet facilities. Today, access to public toilet facilities is even more restricted in states that have mandated closure of nearly all businesses. However, there are a variety of ways that cities can increase access to clean and safe public toilets.

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Matching Supply and Demand: Connecting Farms with Food Banks for Hunger Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

May 5, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 26 million Americans filing unemployment claims. This rising level of unemployment will push America further into a food security crisis. The USDA’s most recent food security report, published in September of 2019, indicated that 37.2 million Americans were food insecure. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic will force an additional 17.1 million Americans into food insecurity.

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Protect and Improve Air Quality to Prevent High Mortality Rates from Future Pandemics

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

April 21, 2020
by Betsy Lawton

As the earth’s climate warms and animals and humans relocate to more habitable locations, increased interactions with a variety of wildlife in new and different contexts places humans at risk of new viruses, making preventative measures to reduce pollution and address underlying health vulnerabilities such as asthma, chronic lung disease, or heart conditions even more important.

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