The information contained in this post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.
If you’re worried about welcoming customers back after shelter-in-place orders, you’re not alone. A majority of small business owners are concerned about the possibility of being sued as a result of COVID-19, according to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce poll.
Here are some ideas to help your small business navigate risk management in these difficult times.
1. Follow state and local public health guidelines
Since the beginning of the crisis, it’s been important for you to closely follow public health guidance on the pandemic and stay informed about all voluntary and mandatory actions for cleaning and social distancing.
Depending on the type of small business you own, you may also need to consider additional measures to keep your customers and employees safe.
2. Create a checklist of new policies and procedures
A checklist will help you visualize what reopening will look like for your business and organize all your risk management activities.
3. Check your insurance coverage
Review your liability policies to see if you are covered in the event you’re hit with a lawsuit related to COVID-19. At the start of the government-forced shutdowns, many businesses looked to their business interruption insurance coverage to compensate for lost income. However, many were disappointed to learn that they weren’t covered for a pandemic. Before reopening, check to see if your policies will cover the cost of any litigation.
4. Evaluate whether a liability waiver is appropriate for your business
A liability waiver is a contract that says you give up the right to sue. Salons, restaurants, gyms and day-care centers are among the types of small businesses asking customers to agree not to sue if they contract COVID-19. However, it’s not clear whether the documents will hold up in court. In addition, a waiver might not be a good idea for other reasons. For example, it could put off your customers or make them doubt your safety precautions.
Once you’ve taken these four steps, be sure to communicate your actions transparently to everyone concerned.
Check out these resources on OpenWeStand.org for more business lessons and strategies you can use to get through the pandemic and beyond.