New York is in a state of emergency. Gyms and movie theaters are being closed across the State, and restaurants have been required to move to take-out only service. Businesses owners are right to have questions about their legal obligations.
We recently posted about the frequently asked questions we’ve been hearing from employers. Today, we’re turning our attention to the broader question we’re hearing from our business clients:
What Should A Business Do Right Now?
- If you don’t have it already, create a policy prohibiting employees from coming to work while ill. Strictly enforce this policy.
- Designate someone to monitor changes in the law and guidance from our local health officials. Conditions are rapidly changing, and you need to keep an eye out for changes that will impact your business.
- Comply with guidance from State and County health officials. Immediately, this will require cancellation of most in-person meetings and events. Depending on your industry, other changes also may be required.
- Communicate with your clients and staff about how your business is handling COVID-19 and how your business is handling changes in the law that impact you. Be prepared to adapt (and communicate) as conditions change.
- Assess your contract obligations and determine whether you now need to avoid any contracts. Keep an eye out for notice provisions related to cancellations (for example, contracts that can be cancelled as long as proper advance notice is given). Alternatively, you may be able to avoid other contracts because of a force majeure clause (i.e., a clause that excuses a in certain circumstances). Depending on how the contract is written, the current pandemic and/or state of emergency may trigger a force majeure clause in your contract.
- Prepare for others to breach contracts they have with you. Remember the cancellation of a contract may be to your benefit or detriment, so you’ll need to assess the likelihood of your contracts being cancelled.
- Assess the security of your information as conditions change and your business adapts and responds to COVID-19.
- Create a Business Continuation (Contingency) Plan.
We’re here for you. Our attorneys are working around the clock to arm your business with every tool it needs to overcome the challenges posed by coronavirus. Be sure to check the free guidance available on our website and social media pages. If you have specific questions or need help developing a policy or plan, we’re always available. For those who are existing clients, don’t hesitate to reach out to your attorney. For others needing help, we can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone (716) 839-9700.