Coronavirus Government Response Update—American Airlines to Deploy Antiviral Surface Coating

August 27, 2020

Welcome to the ISSA Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep our members up to date on government affairs related to the cleaning industry and COVID-19. Today’s update touches on the Trump administration granting American Airlines approval to use a new tool against coronaviruses, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  possibly no longer paying for protective equipment (PPE), legislation in Ohio that would provide COVID-19-related legal immunity to businesses and schools, and more.

American Airlines to Deploy Antiviral Surface Coating against COVID-19
The Trump administration gave American Airlines Group Inc. emergency approval to deploy a new tool against COVID-19: a surface coating that kills coronaviruses for as many as seven days, according to Bloomberg News. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the emergency declaration for Allied BioScience Inc.’s SurfaceWise2 product, allowing the product to be used in some American Airlines planes and airport facilities, as well as two Texas locations of Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine. All three companies are based in Texas, which sought the exemption. The EPA anticipates posting information for companies or individuals who are interested in pursuing a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Section 3 registration for antiviral surface coatings in the coming weeks. ISSA continues to look into this issue and will update our members accordingly.

States Say FEMA May No Longer Pay for Protective Gear
State and local governments officials say the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has indicated it might no longer provide reimbursements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed to fight COVID-19, The Hill reported. FEMA reimburses state and local governments for 75% of the costs for PPE and disinfectants, but that arrangement may soon end, according to state and municipal leaders. “This proposed change to PPE coverage continues a troubling pattern of shifting costs and responsibilities onto states and localities when they can least afford it,” the National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures, and other groups wrote in a letter Tuesday to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor.

Schools in Ohio Seek COVID-19 Liability Protections
In Ohio, House Bill 606 by Rep. Diane Grendell (Chesterland-R) would provide civil immunity from coronavirus-related liability to businesses and schools. “With the fall school year rapidly approaching, House Bill 606 will offer our schools much-needed legal protection. I have received hundreds of calls from across the state urging passage of this bill,” Grendell said. The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives and Senate and is awaiting House concurrence with some changes made by the Senate, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Governor Mike DeWine’s administration has urged U.S. Congress to include similar protections in the next coronavirus stimulus package. ISSA supports liability relief for essential businesses as part of such legislation.

Judge Strikes down Florida’s School Reopening Order
Florida’s school reopening order is unconstitutional, a judge ruled Monday, striking down the controversial provision requiring “brick and mortar” campuses to open this month for five-day-a-week lessons, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The ruling comes from two lawsuits, one from Orange County, Florida, and another from the statewide teachers’ union, both challenging Florida’s school reopening order issued by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

A Statistical Review of the Small Business Sector
In this piece, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, asserts the “desirability of a tax credit to offset part of the cost of protecting employees and reconfiguring workplaces. The former would consist of employee COVID-19 testing, deep cleaning and disinfectants, and personal protection equipment for employees. The latter would include expenses for reconfiguring places regularly used by customers or employees to bring them up to standards.” ISSA is advocating for such a tax credit as part of the next federal stimulus package.

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