The COVID-19 pandemic had forced business closures for months causing great losses to businesses all around the world. Economic conditions are getting worse than ever before, forcing governments to make decisions regarding business reopening. Despite the cure for a viral outbreak that has yet to be found, business owners are willing to reopen businesses with preventive modifications. Business reopenings will come along with great concerns regarding the legality involved. A liability risk could push businesses into deeper losses that have already been occurring due to the closure of businesses.
Liability risk involved in business reopenings
Liability risk is a type of risk where a company is responsible for possible damages or breaching standards arising from purchasing goods or obtaining services, operations, or an act of negligence by the company. Businesses that are reopening, will face the liability risk if employees, customers or other visitors could get contaminated with Coronavirus on their business premises.
Claims for liability risk could be a nightmare and very costly for business owners, which may delay business reopening. This could be fatal for the already dipping economy, where recovery is already a great concern, and businesses could crumble with losses emerging from the closure. The biggest fear business owners currently have is for any employee or a customer to get sick with the virus on their premises. Employment claims, worker’s compensations, and the worst lawsuits are what businesses could fall into.
However, this does change from state-to-state and the circumstances that had caused the spread. Unfortunately, no liability protection for businesses that are willing to reopen has been designed and businesses are surrounded by this liability risk. As reopenings are likely to be scheduled in the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses wonder what would be the right thing to do.
What should businesses do to limit liability risk?
Before a business owner decides to reopen, stay updated with the guidelines from CDC, OSHA, World Health Organization (WHO), and the state authorities. As the situations are uncertain and constantly changing, stay up-to-date with the latest developments regarding business operations.
Create and enforce workplace safety protocols and social distancing measures. Educate your employees and customers regarding the social distancing requirements. Sanitize and disinfect workplace areas used often and limit interpersonal contact. If shipping and receiving or delivery is a must for your business, try to make it as contact-free as possible for your employees. Provide employees with protective equipment such as masks, face shields, gloves, or personal protective equipment and make hand sanitizing a routine. This will not guarantee to avoid Coronavirus spread, however, taking the appropriate measure will limit the chances of coming in contact with coronavirus.
Protection programs for businesses against liability risk are not available and there are very little businesses could do to avoid the risk if they wish to reopen. Therefore, before considering to reopen the business, owners must derive a well-structured plan which will assist them in limiting the liability risk. Communication with employees and customers regarding safety measures will be a vital point for business in the coming weeks as they begin to reopen.