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David McDivitt Joins KKTV To Talk About Legal Issues During Pandemic

Every day seems to bring new questions concerning the law as we learn to operate in a lockdown to help slow the spread of COVID-19. David joined Don Ward on KKTV, to talk through some of the legal topics that have come up in recent days.

With a state-wide lockdown, what changes should people expect to their daily lives?

There has been a lot of confusion among people and businesses on which companies will be allowed to remain open. Even though this order has been given by the governor, it is still subject to refinement. In the coming days as tweaks are made to the order, we will have more clarity on what restrictions we will have on our daily lives. As things progress and change, people are trying to stay ahead and have the latest information in order to do the right thing and keep their community safe.

There have been stories of people intentionally infecting people or making individuals believe they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. What are the legal implications for this sort of behavior?

Individuals have been exploiting the coronavirus anxieties of the public by spreading fear. Whether this be people intentionally spreading fear about possible malicious exposure, or individuals intentionally contaminating objects at the grocery store, they may be prosecuted as a terrorist by the federal government.

What does the stimulus package from the federal government mean for the public?

Individuals whose income is less than $75,000 and couples who make less than $150,000 will receive direct payments in the near future. This package also expands unemployment benefits and who can receive them. There will be an extension in how many weeks someone can claim unemployment along with increased benefits. Traditionally independent contractors have not been eligible for unemployment, but under this new law they would be eligible if they could show they have in fact lost the ability to receive income due to COVID-19.

Many are concerned about tenant-landlord issues, what is suggested in these difficult situations?

This is a common concern for both residential and commercial leases. With some businesses owing rent with minimal cash flow due to closures, and others struggling to pay the rent of their homes after losing their jobs, the best solution is talk to the landlord about your situation. Communicating with your landlord about your predicament and the best course of action moving forward is the best solution for people worried about making the next rent payment. Asking for a deferment of rent and having documentation would be ideal so that the landlord can’t later claim that you didn’t attempt to pay the rent and then evict you. Currently the governor has instructed the sheriff’s department to not perform any forceful evictions.

David spoke with Dianne Derby earlier in March to discuss some of the first questions that came up during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

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