The World Health Organization has stated that, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Legislatively, Governor Cuomo has issued certain protections in this uncertain time. A bill was signed guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus (further details on sick leave bill). An executive order will be issued directing non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies effective Friday, March 20.
Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 100 percent. There are certain exemptions from the order, including shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions. All retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys to close in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Another executive order was signed by Governor Cuomo, directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1. Casinos, gyms, and theaters are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure so as to allow these businesses to generate some income.
All local governments are required to reduce their workforce by at least 100 percent, and non-essential state workers are working from home. This could contribute to a slower, or stalled response from certain non-essential government functions (town permits, county recordings, civil litigation matters, etc.). New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks.
Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider, based on income eligibility and other factors. For further details about the costs for accessing health care, contact the state Department of Financial Services at (800) 342-3736, or via its website dfs.ny.gov.
Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns. A 1,000 bed hospital ship, “The USNS Comfort,” will be deployed to New York harbor to increase hospital surge capacity.
(Novel Coronavirus [covid-19] https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home)
How to Legally Prepare Yourself
Legal Considerations :
- Wills: This coronavirus is tragically taking the lives of so many people across the world. To properly prepare for yourself and your family, having a current and updated Last Will & Testament could save valuable time and hardship if the worst circumstances were to fall upon your family. As we have seen, this virus does not discriminate when it comes to age, sex, religion, race, etc. It is important to make sure that your affairs are in order to avoid making a tragic situation catastrophic.
- Living Wills: A living will is a document that allows you to express your wishes to medical professionals if you should ever become incapacitated. This document directs your physician to withdraw and withhold any treatment that only prolongs your dying if you have an incurable mental / physical condition with no expectation of recovery. Your doctors are directed to keep you comfortable and pain-free. This could dramatically reduce any burden that your family may encounter, having to make such a decision on your behalf.
- Health Care Proxy: A health care proxy will allow someone whom you chose to make pertinent medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to speak for yourself. The person whom you designate as your health care proxy would have access to your medical information, and may express directives to health care providers regarding your treatment and care. You can also designate a “back-up” person with this authority if the original person you chose is unable or unwilling to carry out these responsibilities.
- Power Of Attorney: A power of attorney is a document that allows another person whom you designate to act on your behalf to make decisions regarding your real property (residence, land, etc.), banking, insurances, investments, estate matters, tax matters, etc. This is a powerful document and should be executed after consultation with an attorney about your wishes, because we can tailor this document to give authority for someone to act on your behalf regarding some or all of these matters. A power of attorney will terminate upon the principal’s death so it is important to have something in place to control after your death.
- Inventory: Keeping an inventory of all your assets and liabilities can be very helpful when family may need to locate important information or documents. Such an inventory is especially helpful when probating an estate after someone has passed away. We recommend keeping a list accessibile to family members, detailing where your investments, bank accounts, estate documents, mortgage documents, deeds, etc. are all located. We have a wonderfully comprehensive form that we provide to all of our clients upon request at no extra charge.
All of us at Gulotta & Gulotta, PLLC want to make sure you stay safe and prepared. We understand these are daunting times; we are here for you. If you want more information or would like to schedule an appointment via telephone, please contact us.
We have adjusted our procedures to keep you safe during this time of suggested isolation. If you wish to update or prepare any of the documents listed,
- Schedule a telephone call where we will conduct an intake interview to assess your wishes and goals.
- We will prepare the documents as per your specifications.
- Once the documents are completed, we will contact you to review and execute the documents. The documents can be signed and notarized in our sanitized office during a private appointment. They can also be sent to you directly with instructions on how to properly execute the documents before a notary public.
Do not wait! Call Today at 631.285.7000 and Let Us Help Make Sure You Are Protected from the coronavirus (COVID-19)!