News

Museum of the American Latino Act Moves to the US Senate

On July 27, 2020, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed the National Museum of the American Latino Act (H.R. 2420 / S. 1267) with bipartisan support. American Latinos have contributed positively to every aspect of American society and have impacted the areas of health, science, business, military, arts, sports, politics, and more. These efforts have proudly enriched our nation’s competitiveness, culture, and prosperity for generations, yet a lot of these contributions are omitted from museums and history books. This legislation authorizes the creation of a museum of American Latino history in our nation’s capital. The bill now moves on to the US Senate for a vote and ratification. Ruben Alvarez, Managing Partner of Molera Alvarez and a regional advisory board member of the Friends of the American Latino Museum (https://americanlatinomuseum.org/), was interviewed by KJZZ’s “The Show” on why this legislation is important. To hear the interview, please click the following link: https://kjzz.org/content/1610535/what-national-american-latino-museum-would-mean-latinos-arizona-us.

Posted in Community News, Molera Alvarez News |

Arizona’s Economic Outlook in the Age of COVID-19

Despite how hard Arizona has been hit by COVID-19, the state will experience a V-shaped economic recovery—and is already coming out of the COVID-19 recession—predicted economist Chris Thornberg in a recent virtual economic forum held by Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics, was bullish on the U.S. economic recovery, forecasting the COVID-19 recession will be much shorter than previous recessions because:

  1. It came on the heels of a healthy economy and there were no major bubbles or high consumer debt preceding this recession (unlike the Great Recession which followed a housing bubble that created unsustainable imbalances in the economy).
  2. Job losses are temporary, not permanent. The tight labor market that preceded COVID-19 will help those who permanently lost their jobs get back to work relatively quickly.
  3. Government stimulus will lead to strong recovery once the virus is removed from the economy.

With the second quarter decline in consumer spending accounting for about 80% of overall economic decline, increases in consumer spending over the last three months (see graphic above) are bringing us out of recession, says Thornberg. Additionally, the personal savings rate was 26% (annualized) in the second quarter – the highest ever. With these positive markers, Thornberg predicts further increases in spending, particularly in health care, as COVID-19 is further contained.

Thornberg also said there will likely not be a second wave of COVID-19 cases in former hot spots because they may be closer to herd immunity than we imagined. This is because data suggests for every person who tested positive, there are 8-10 people who have had the virus but never been exposed, as well as evidence of potentially as much as 30% of the population having innate resistance to the disease.

We will continue to monitor economic trends and provide you with the most up-to-date information so you can be confident in your business decisions in this time of great uncertainty.

Posted in Community News |

How to Market Your Newly Reopened Small Business and More

The Arizona Commerce Authority and Local First Arizona teamed together with community support to create the Arizona Small Business Bootcamp & Resource Collective – a statewide initiative to help local small businesses respond to the immediate impacts of COVID-19, plan for the future and return stronger than before. The resources provided here are broken into these three categories as well. The next webinar session, focused on how to market newly reopened businesses through both traditional and digital methods for maximum exposure, will take place at 9:00 AM on Friday, June 12.

Posted in Community News |

Molera Alvarez Partner Keynotes JPMorgan Chase Virtual Meeting

Jaime A. Molera served as the keynote presenter for a JPMorgan Chase leadership team discussion on Arizona legislative and political trends. “It was a fantastic and candid discussion on what we are facing as a state and the long-term issues we must deal with as a business community,” Molera said.

Posted in Client News, Community News, Molera Alvarez News |

Much-awaited USMCA auto regulations released

On June 3, the U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) uniform regulations for automotive rules of origin were published, a much-awaited step ahead of the USMCA going into effect July 2, 2020. The regulations include specific formulas and information on how automakers must comply with the new, stricter rules to qualify for reduced tariffs under USMCA. U.S. automakers have less than a month to implement the new rules unless they petition for a longer transition period.  Some automakers will likely apply for transition plans, which may last up to five years. Automakers are working to comply with the requirement that a significant portion of auto content be made with high-wage labor, as well as stricter rules for regional value content (i.e., percent of auto content made in North America) and steel and aluminum sourcing. Mexico has also published the uniform regulations tied to other industries.

Posted in International News |

A Different Way to Monitor COVID-19 Cases

AECOM is leading with innovation during the COVID-19 crisis. The company has partnered with municipalities on a different way of monitoring COVID-19 cases: wastewater testing. Wastewater monitoring is a proven method of infection monitoring that can identify viral RNA shed into the wastewater system by infected individuals before they even feel symptoms. Similar methods have been used to eradicate other viruses such as poliovirus and measles, and to address public health concerns such as opioid concentrations, norovirus and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, informing public officials of real-time cases in a state, city, or neighborhood. Wastewater testing can detect COVID-19 occurrence or re-emergence up to 2 weeks before patients develop full symptoms and allow focused testing and mitigation measures. It can prevent the spread even better than test-trace-isolate. Swab tests can miss significant numbers of infected people, and even more of those who are infected but not showing symptoms. By the time residents of a community start showing symptoms and individuals get tested, community transmission may already be accelerating and hard to control. Wastewater testing can track infection hot spots better, faster and at a lower cost than exclusive reliance on individual testing. If, as expected, COVID-19 resurges in autumn, this method of viral tracking can help public officials respond quicker and avoid shutting down a wider population of people than needed. For more information about this program, please contact Tim Volz (<http://www.privatedaddy.com?q=TEkMCU1uDWNtA2tCf3t-2BGS1zdVE2Sw-3D-3D_19>).

Posted in Client News, Community News |

City of Phoenix Budget Moves Forward

The City of Phoenix passed another procedural vote on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year this week following protests which called for, among other things, full funding of the Office of Accountability and Transparency. After continuing the vote for a few days, the budget moved forward with $3 million in funding for the civilian review board included. The new funding is made up of savings to the city from closed city facilities and reduced capacity in jails due to COVID-19 as well as offsets to other expenses from federal CARES Act money. The city also moved forward five more assistance programs under the Coronavirus Relief Fund for vulnerable populations including domestic violence and human trafficking survivors, tenants and seniors.

Posted in Community News |

COVID-19 Cases in Arizona Rise, State Health Director Urges Hospitals to Activate Emergency Plans

Since the last update, the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Arizona per day have all increased, leading some experts to worry we may be experiencing a spike in community spread. Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services Director, released a warning to hospitals to “fully activate” emergency plans, prepare for crisis care, and to suspend elective surgeries if they are experiencing a shortage of staff or bed capacity. This comes after the clinical director of the state’s largest hospital system, Banner Health, said ICU bed occupancy was growing and, if the trend continues, may exceed capacity.

Governor Doug Ducey held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, where a wholistic update on the COVID-19 pandemic was addressed. He addressed the recent national trends of cases increasing again, including Arizona. He emphasized that while cases are increasing, hospitals are prepared and ready for this increase. Dr. Cara Christ reiterated the actions being taken, including increased testing. The plan going forward is the continued Public Health Education Campaign which includes physical distancing, wash your hands, stay home when sick and cloth face coverings when physical distancing is not possible. There will be a continued effort to increase testing and constant focus on cases and hospital capacity. While the Governor did not indicate that he would issue a mandate, he did encourage for masks to be worn when physical distancing was not possible.

Posted in Community News |

CVS Health Opens 10 New Drive-Thru Test Sites in Arizona

Helping our community stay safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 is a top priority nationwide and in Arizona. CVS Health has now opened 10 drive-thru test sites in Arizona at select CVS Pharmacy locations. Increasing the availability of testing is a critical step in our ability to manage the disease and mitigate risk so that we can begin to implement plans to safely reopen the economy. CVS Health is offering self-swab tests to individuals at test sites in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tucson, and Oro Valley. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com to schedule an appointment. We encourage citizens to take advantage of these expanded testing opportunities, particularly if you are in a high-risk demographic or are experiencing symptoms. You can find the closest test location and more information here: https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.

Posted in Client News, Community News |

Mexico Issues Guidelines for Reopening as Border Restrictions Continue

Mexico has issued guidelines for resuming operations in the automotive, mining and construction sectors, pushing ahead with reopening the economy after COVID-19 brought industries to a halt. However, like in the United States, some have concerns about how work sites will control COVID-19 transmission. Another key step in moving forward from COVID-19 restrictions has not yet been attained – reopening the border between the U.S. and Mexico. United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced Tuesday afternoon that border restrictions will continue between the U.S. and Mexico amid the coronavirus pandemic. Nonessential travel between the two countries will be restricted until June 22. The secretary’s announcement comes the same day restrictions were set to expire between the United States and its neighbors – Mexico and Canada. The restrictions allow trade but significantly reducing cross-border traffic.

Posted in International News |