Published on April 03, 2020
navigating-the-impacts-to-covid-19

 

Navigating the Impacts— COVID-19 Guidance 

Amid the ongoing COVID virus pandemic, CapRelo continues to curate information from our suppliers, clients and partners to share insights relative to transferring employees impact. Questions on specific cases should continue to be directed to your Client Services contact or to info@caprelo.com.

International Updates
Internationally, governments are continuing to work to stem the spread of the virus, which has now affected more than 200 countries worldwide. Some are also beginning to issue guidance to protect the provision of services and supply of goods.

European Commission Guidance
The European Commission (EC) published guidance to ensure the free movement of not only critical workers, but the frontier workers in general. Member states have introduced internal border controls to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is imperative that workers who need to cross borders to reach their workplaces can do so without delay.

The full communication can be read online at:
http://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=22473&langId=en

Asia
Asia continues to see additional measures taken to contain COVID-19, including temporarily closing borders. Countries are implementing differing plans to stop local spread, from social distancing recommendations to localized or nationalized lockdowns.

Hong Kong, China and Taiwan economies are gradually starting back up again with service delivery defined as ‘business as usual’ with certain restrictions.  

 One of our valued partners, Newland Chase, provides updated advisories here:
https://blog.newlandchase.com/ (updated daily at 7am EST and 1:30pm EST)

The US

In the US, conditions vary from state to state. We are seeing some general trends from our supplier partners and clients that are worth noting:

The CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill, was signed into law on March 27, 2020. While this legislation is aimed at providing relief for individuals and businesses that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus, certain considerations should be discussed related to mobility programs.

2020 Recovery Rebate
Mobility assignments tend to have an impact on an individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as many employer-provided benefits and allowances are considered as taxable income. Given an individual’s AGI is the qualifying factor for the 2020 Recovery Rebate, questions may arise around 2018/2019 benefits as they impact individual tax filings.
 

Stay-at-home Orders Climb

As of Friday, April 3, 2020, 40 states have announced statewide stay-at-home orders, with a variety of restrictions state by state.


States are beginning to require travelers from coronavirus hotspots, and in some cases from any other state, to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry or the duration of the person’s presence, whichever is shorter. The order from each state should be reviewed carefully to ensure compliance, as breaking a quarantine order is a criminal misdemeanor.

As of March 31, 2020, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia have implemented such measures.

COVID-19 Essential Business Protocols 

Transferees crossing even state borders should have documentation with them where possible – offer letters, lease agreements and the like, to help minimize the disruption of passing any border checkpoints.

  • U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) local offices continue to remain closed to the public for in-person service, and no applications are being taken for new Social Security Numbers at this time.  
  • Destination services, rental assistance and intercultural training continue to be delivered exclusively on a virtual basis.
  • At this time, transportation remains an essential service in all areas despite restrictions, therefore household goods moves are continuing. Enhanced health and safety protocols remain in effect.  

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the New York State Department of Economic Development issued updated guidance on “Essential Business” under Executive Order 202.6 to include residential moving services.

 

Impacts to Real Estate
Individual states continue to define whether essential services include these business lines: real estate, mortgage, title, appraisals and real estate inspections. 

  • This will continue to determine the ability to progress a home sale or home purchase transaction through closing.

At this time, Kentucky and Pennsylvania have limited essential businesses to life-sustaining businesses. Several states, including Washington and California, have given specific advice that Real Estate is essential, allowing viewings and transactions to go forward. We expect more clarity state by state in the coming weeks.

  • Several lenders are implementing a hold on the jumbo mortgage market mainly due to the secondary mortgage market, while they remain available through self-funded lenders. Saying that, investors are looking to limit risk during this time of uncertainty. We strongly encourage buyers in contract to purchase homes utilizing a jumbo loan product to contact their lender as soon as possible to discuss if alternative options are available if needed.
  • According to Wells Fargo, self-funding banks are the most stable while investor funding is tightening in the mortgage industry.

CapRelo continues to follow the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and respective governmental agencies when recommending and implementing best practices, but we have not experienced any disruption in our service delivery. While much of our work continues to be logistically complicated, we are finding solutions for even the trickiest challenges. 

The safety and care of our employees, clients and customers is our highest priority. As circumstances evolve, we will continue to share our observations as it pertains to the relocation landscape.

Barry J Morris, President and CEO, CapRelo

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