The current pandemic is a very stressful time for business owners. Many businesses are closing or facing significant revenue losses because they have been forced to close due to stay-at-home orders. In addition, measures may mean that businesses have to pay for personal protective equipment, may need to limit the number of people in their store or establishment, or may be losing employees who must self-isolate or who are ill. Industries such as tourism and retail—major parts of the economy in Hollywood and across South Florida—are especially affected.
In addition to this, many businesses are concerned about possibly being held liable if their employees, customers, or visitors get COVID-19. If you run a business, fortunately, there are several ways you can protect yourself against a premises liability claim in Hollywood and other COVID-19 related claims:
- Liability Waivers: Some businesses are asking employees and visitors to sign liability waivers, relieving them of responsibility if someone develops the novel coronavirus after visiting their premises. This is not ideal, since there is some contradictory information about whether such waivers would stand up in court.
- Proper Precautions: A better option for protecting your business, your customers, and employees is to take proper precautions. Clean common surfaces, encourage social distancing at work and in your establishment, create enough space for social distancing. If possible, allow your employees work remotely or start offering delivery or remote services.
- Staying up-to-date: Check the news in your area frequently and make sure you stay up-to-date on any recommendation made by health authorities. If health authorities issue a stay at home order or recommend businesses take certain precautions, make sure you follow the recommendations for your area. These requests and orders are designed to help keep everyone safe and will show you are serious about taking necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Documenting Your Efforts: In addition to doing the right thing, be transparent about what you are doing to help protect workers, visitors, and customers. Post signs explaining the steps you are taking and send out news items to your employees to let them know what new expectations might look like in the workplace. This helps keep everyone on the same page and working together to stay safe and also documents your efforts to show you made good-faith efforts to avoid an outbreak.
Contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a premises liability attorney if you have been exposed to the virus at a business or public space or if you have been injured in the workplace. Our team can help you understand legal options you may have.