The Japanese government has announced that the state of emergency has been extended to March 7, 2021.  The state emergency will continue to cover 10 prefectures, including Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures.  The state of emergency for Tochigi Prefecture is to be lifted on February 7.  This state of emergency was initially announced on January 8, 2021 and was set to expire on February 7 (see our prior post).  For prefectures subject to the state of emergency, the Japanese government has requested, among other measures, that restaurants and bars close by 8:00pm and citizens refrain from traveling for non-essential purposes after 8:00pm.

The special entry of business travelers from 11 countries, including China and South Korea, will continue to be suspended for the duration of the state of emergency.

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Canada.  Today the Canadian Government announced rules further restricting international travel. According to the government’s press release:

  • Flight suspension.  All flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries suspended until April 30, 2021, in effect as of Sunday, January 31, 2021.
  • Routing Through Four Canadian Airports.  Effective midnight (11:59 PM EST) February 3, 2021, in addition to proof of a negative pre-departure test, all international flights will land at only four airports: Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto Pearson, Calgary, and Vancouver.  The new restrictions will include scheduled commercial passenger flights arriving from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, which were exempted from the previous restriction.

Continue reading at Mayer Brown’s Mobile Workforce Blog.

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Italy has become one of the first countries to waive the quarantine requirement for travelers who arrive on designated “COVID-free” direct flights.  By an ordinance issued by the Italian Ministry of Health, passengers who have tested negative for COVID-19 will be allowed to travel to Italy without being subject to the current 14-day quarantine measures for certain arrivals.  Passengers must fly Alitalia and Delta direct flights departing from New York’s JFK, Newark and Atlanta airports, and arriving at Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Rome.

Travelers are required to present a negative COVID test, within 48 hours before departure, or take a test at the airport before departure.  A second test will be required upon arrival in Rome.  A final test will be required prior to departing Italy.  Fiumicino Airport offers rapid antigen tests for arriving passengers.  If the result is negative, passengers are allowed to enter Italy without being subject to quarantine measures.

Other “COVID-free” flights will be available between Rome and Germany (Munich and Frankfurt).   This exemption from quarantine will facilitate essential travel for those visiting Italy during the pandemic.  Currently, further details may be obtained directly from Delta Airlines.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that the United Kingdom is considering changes to its self-isolation requirements for inbound international travelers, including a possible mandatory hotel quarantine period for those entering the UK.

The country currently requires travelers to have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before their travel and to fill out a passenger locator form that includes where they will be staying.  Once in the UK, travelers must quarantine for ten days, unless they show a negative test five days after being in the UK.  With certain, limited exceptions, travelers must isolate in one location, and it must be the location listed on their passenger locator form.  Slightly different rules apply in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Continue Reading UK Looks to Australia for Changes to Traveler Self-Isolation Protocols

In a proclamation issued Monday, President Biden banned travelers from entering the United States if they recently spent time in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, the Schengen Area, or South Africa. Citing its goal of curbing the spread and health impact of COVID-19, particularly novel strains of the virus arising in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK, the new administration is requiring travelers to spend 14 days in a third country before transiting to the United States.  The travel restrictions take effect today, January 26, 2021.

Continue reading on the Mobile Workforce Blog

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Several countries around the globe have imposed COVID-19 testing as part of their pre-travel requirements.  In line with these measures, Australia has joined the list of countries requiring COVID-19 testing, with the Department of Home Affairs in Australia announcing new measures.  Commencing on January 22, 2021, anyone traveling or transiting through Australia must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test to the airline prior to departure.  The COVID-19 PCR test must be taken at least 72 hours prior to departure. 

Continue reading at the Mobile Workforce blog.

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Among the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on legal systems is an increase in the number of arbitration hearings being conducted virtually rather than in person. The 12th edition of Mayer Brown’s Global International Arbitration Update, released in January 2021, shines a light on this and other ways in which the pandemic is changing how arbitrations are conducted around the world. Topics include:

  • The launch of a new online portal by eBRAM in Hong Kong for the settlement of local and global disputes related to the pandemic.
  • Technological advancements in the international arbitration arena that have resulted from the pandemic, such as online case management platforms and the launch of a draft protocol for online case management in international arbitration.
  • The 2020 International Arbitration Survey from the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London, which delves into how international arbitration has adapted to COVID-19. (Results will be published in May 2021.)
  • An increase in virtual hearings, as reported by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) in its October 2020 survey on virtual hearings. Since the pandemic’s outbreak in March 2020, nearly 40 percent of the hearings in SCC arbitration cases have been conducted online. Arbitrators reported a generally positive experience with some hesitations around technology, loss of human interaction and the assessment of witnesses.
  • In what appears to be the first reported US court decision to address the issue in the context of the pandemic, an Illinois federal court denied a request to enjoin a remote arbitration hearing. Legaspy v. Fin. Indus. Regulatory Auth., Inc., 20 C 4700, 2020 WL 4696818 (N.D. Ill.).

Our Global International Arbitration Update is a bi-annual publication that summarizes key events in international arbitration from the preceding six months. It covers both commercial and investor-State arbitration developments from around the globe.

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

The White House decreed on Monday, January 18, that the entry bans on most of the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Brazil would end as early as January 26, just six days after Mr. Biden takes office, citing the decision last week by the administration to require international travelers to present either the results of a negative recent coronavirus test or evidence that they had already recovered from the disease.  President-elect Biden rejected the move, which means the curbs on incoming travel from these regions, which have been in place since March 2020, will remain in place after the inauguration.  “On the advice of our medical team, the administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26,” tweeted Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the Biden administration, immediately after President Trump’s decree was issued.  “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” Continue Reading Gates Open, Then Shut – President-Elect Biden Says COVID Bans Will Remain In Place Despite Trump Executive Order

As reported in our prior alert, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its final rule Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States.  Published today in the Federal Register, the Final Rule is effective March 15, 2021.  The rule increases wages employers are required to pay H-1B workers by the percentiles we previously reported for the four wage levels utilized by the DOL—35th percentile for Level 1, followed by 53rd, 72nd and 90th percentiles.  The rule outlines a phased approach to implementing wage increases over the next three and a half years.  On July 1, 2021, the DOL will begin applying its new wage-setting methodology on an incremental basis when releasing its annual wage data by occupation and geographic area.  The introduction of an annual increase in wages on July 1 will result in the DOL reaching the percentiles (discussed below) as of July 1, 2024.

Continue reading on Mayer Brown’s Mobile Workforce blog.

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“the Act”) contains a range of policy reforms and requirements that will impact companies doing business with the Government and the supply chain. Many of these measures will be refined through rulemaking.

Among other provisions, the Act:

  • Modifies the threshold for the Berry Amendment, which restricts acquisition of certain materials to domestic sources.
  • Imposes safeguards to prevent China from acquiring defense-sensitive intellectual property, technology, and data.
  • Expands restrictions on the acquisition of certain materials from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Some controls are being phased in over time, which should enable DoD and the defense industrial base (“DIB”) to find alternative sources.
  • Directs DoD to assess supply chain risks for a list of high-priority items, including microelectronics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and aluminum.
  • Emphasizes building domestic capacity, including by prioritizing “to the maximum extent practicable” the order of sources for “strategic and critical materials,” which are not defined. The conference report directs DoD to increase resiliency by expanding the DIB and fostering industrial cooperation with allies and partners that offer capacity.
  • Reflects continuing concern with cost growth on defense programs. “Middle Tier” programs will now receive additional scrutiny.
  • Requires identification of the “beneficial owner” of a corporation and mandates that DoD conduct periodic examinations of “covered contractors or subcontractors” to assess compliance with Foreign ownership control or influence (“FOCI”) restrictions and requirements.
  • Contains cybersecurity provisions that may impact contractors, including cybersecurity assessments that may increase contractors’ compliance burdens.

See additional analysis on MayerBrown.com.

For more information about US Government contracts and related supply chain issues, please contact Marcia G. Madsen or David F. Dowd.

For other aspects of the NDAA:

***

If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.