1. Having an I-140 approval that stayed in existence for 180 days does not protect your current status by itself so with the new rule you've got that 60 day grace period to file for an H-1 or any other kind of change of status after the layoff so you have got that 60 day grace period you could try applying for a tourist visa if nothing else works out.
2. Yes. You can use Compelling Circumstances EAD. See my blog for more details.
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