Many businesses have faced hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more and more restrictions are lifted, business owners may be unsure of how to stay afloat and protect themselves, their employees, and customers. Being proactive and seeking the counsel of a local business attorney can help you avoid serious problems down the road.
Adhere to State and Local Orders
Everyone needs to make a living, and COVID-19 has placed a serious financial burden on millions of small businesses. Regardless of whether you agree with regulations that have been put in place, it is vital to follow local and state rules for safely operating your business. Frustration about being unable to do business at all is understandable, but carrying business practices in defiance of these orders can put your business at risk and lead to even more difficulties.
Follow Social Distancing and Hygiene Practices
Wearing a mask, keeping a distance of six feet from others, and your washing hands frequently may not just slow the spread of COVID-19, but following proper safety protocols and keeping your facility clean and sanitized can also protect you from liability. As an employer, you have an obligation to provide a safe and healthy environment for your employees. This also applies to customers and others who enter your premises. Failure to maintain a safe environment not only puts others at risk, it can jeopardize your business and stain your reputation in the community.
Create a Plan and Enforce New Policies
Part of implementing coronavirus-related changes is creating a plan of action to help things run more smoothly, especially with the ever-changing rules and regulations that may be required. It is important to clearly inform your employees of new policies and procedures. In addition to holding meetings with your employees about these changes, it is critical to document them on paper. It is also a good time to review existing procedures and revise them as necessary. If you own a small business in Eastern Pennsylvania, consult with a business lawyer in West Chester to find out how the Families First Coronavirus Response (CARES) Act, FMLA, ADA, and OSHA regulations may apply in your specific industry.
Revisit Your Business Plan
Reviewing your overall business plan and other contracts is also essential during these uncertain times. COVID-19 has had a serious impact on the bottom line, so it is crucial to come up with innovative ideas and ways to mitigate profit loss and cut expenses. Proper business succession planning is also more important than ever. If you already have a plan in place, reviewing it with your lawyer and making any necessary changes can ensure that things keep running with minimal interruption should you or a partner become severely ill or pass away. If you do not have a business succession plan, now is the time to create one.
Review Commercial Insurance Coverage
In some cases, business interruption insurance may cover COVID-19 related losses, but making a successful claim may be an uphill battle. Reviewing your liability insurance policy is also critical, as it may provide coverage for claims that arise from COVID-19-related litigation. Insurance and contract lawyers are well-versed in the language that is often used in these types of policies, and can determine the scope of your coverage and any exclusions that may apply.
If you need assistance with business-related matters during the COVID-19 pandemic, our experienced team at Carosella & Associates can help.