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Important small business considerations during COVID-19

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unforeseen new risks for small business owners. As you focus on keeping your business functioning and financially stable, you may also need to seek answers from professionals.

For example, whether you’re seeking legal advice for the first time or have a longstanding relationship with an attorney, here are some COVID-19 related questions you may want to ask.

Lawyers who counsel small businesses have found themselves in high demand since the start of the crisis. They’re fielding numerous questions, some of which are as novel as the virus itself. Most fall under these general categories: financial, labor and employment, and contracts. Let’s break it down.

Financial questions

For many businesses, the pandemic has hit their bottom line, triggering questions such as:

  • What are the rules and implications of applying for financial relief under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)? 
  • Can I delay or refuse to pay rent due to the pandemic?
  • Is now a good time to start a new business or dramatically pivot to a new business model?  
  • What are the ramifications of filing for bankruptcy? 

Labor and employment questions

Whether your employees are all working remotely from home or you’re instituting new policies and procedures for safely working in an office or with the public, you may need to determine the following:  

  • What new policies and procedures do I need in light of the COVID-19? What screening measures can I use?
  • What are the rights of employees being asked to return to work in areas that are experiencing hotspots?
  • How do I handle employee requests for accommodation due to fears of the virus that causes COVID-19?
  • How do new state and local laws regarding COVID-19 impact my employees and my operations?
  • How can I foster diversity and inclusion in my workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Questions about contracts 

Small businesses may find they are unable to perform work as contracted due to COVID-19. Or, they may have a subcontractor who is unable to deliver as promised. In either case, they may seek help to resolve the situation. Some questions to consider: 

  • Does the COVID-19 pandemic trigger any force majeure provisions in my contracts and, if so, what do I need to do?
  • What insurance policies, if any, will cover my losses?
  • How do I deal with a contractor who cannot perform? 

The good news is, you don’t have to face all these questions alone. Consult your state or local bar association or the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers program for more information.

Looking for more resources? Check out OpenWeStand.org for more guidance, business lessons, and strategies you can use to get through these tough times.