Numerous F & B, Accommodation and General Services business are facing dire predicaments because of Coronavirus-related restrictions on business and the state of the U.S. economy. Now business owners are facing the fear that these businesses may be sued by patrons or employees for the alleged contraction of Covid-19 at the place of business of the business. For another article on this issue that may be useful for business owners, please see: Rental Abatements of Commerical Leases in New York. Thus, we have developed this Coronavirus Risk Mitigation list to assist businesses in mitigating risk.
Substantial risks exists for businesses to be subjected to fines, shutdown orders, loss of business licenses and even lawsuits from patrons of the business. While these risks are not 100% avoidable, the following Coronavirus Risk Mitigation Checklist can assist in meeting the duty of care required to assist in defending against a lawsuit or a government action.
Coronavirus Risk Mitigation Checklist
- Know the Regulations: Know the government regulations for your industry, follow the regulations and seek clarification when the regulations are not clear. You can find more information for New York at: New York Coronavirus Resources
- Call your Insurance Provider: Know the details of your insurance plan and make sure that the plan covers damage caused by the transmission of contagions at your workplace. Many insurance policies shall not cover this risk. Take a Policy Checkup.
- Record Keeping: Keep thorough records of when and how cleaning is performed. Use the best practices. In most cases, this shall, simply, require someone to take the temperature of visitors, record the name of the person entering your establishment and noting and confirming the cleaning schedule.
- Employment Manual: Add an addendum to your Employment Manual/Work Rules to include: Personal Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfecting, Social Distancing and Record Keeping. Include comprehensive cleaning checklist. Make all employees sign the document.
- Training & Monitoring: Have a training program for the addendum and remind all workers on each shift of the requirements. Record that these meetings have taken place.
- Leaflets/Signs: Place in conspicuous places warnings to keep masks on, that social distancing is enforced, that you are regularly disinfecting the workplace and that even following all of these protocols shall not guarantee that you shall not contract Covid-19.
- Disclaimer: Have, at least, employees sign a disclaimer noting the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus in the place of work.
While we can never prevent someone from suing us, the folllowing Coronavirus Risk Mitigation Check when followed should assist in reducing the possibility of losing in a lawsuit or action by the government.
If you are interested in more information on How to Mitigate Legal Risks Presented by Covid-19, please: Schedule a Call with an Attorney.