A Risk to Businesses?
One of the most frequently asked questions business owners asked after re-opening after the lockdown is “did the business have a liability risk if customers contracted COVID while patronizing their place of business?” The businesses’ industry will determine the risk. Obviously, a restaurant is going to have a greater risk than a service that meets few customers and works primarily from an office with walls separating work spaces. The issue is still being debated in Washington DC and being put forward to legislatively provide protection for this risk to businesses. However, like so many other bills in Washington over the last few months, this one is also stuck in the mud and not moving. Until broader protection is provided and until the insurance companies catch up with how best to insure the risk, what are simple tips that the business owner can take to lessen the liability risks associated with COVID?
What Should Businesses Do to Mitigate the Risk?
Entrepreneurs know how to adapt and meet challenges. COVID challenges and the associated liability risk is just another challenge to overcome. The business owners are using waivers as a way to mitigate the liability risk. As cited in a September 1, 2020 article in Risk Management, entitled “Can Covid-19 Liability Be Waived?” waivers are being used to mitigate risks. Now, like many ‘laws’, they are interpreted differently in each State, so be cautious about using this as your primary mitigation tool. Business owners are also increasing insurance limits and evaluating insurance policies to make sure the business is positioned as best it can in the event of litigation.
Keep it Simple
Dean LeBoeuf discussed this subject in a recent podcast episode of Answers That Count. His recommendation for risk mitigation is to just keep it simple. Like, take the steps recommended by the CDC and other Governmental bodies providing guidelines for cleaning other measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Check out the full podcast here. Dean talked about the measures that he has taken at his business, like adding a plexiglass barrier in the middle of their conference room table. The use of plexiglass is one of the most frequently and visible measures used by businesses that interact with customers. Industries that are in retail or service are using this step. We all see restaurant workers and retail workers continue to use masks to do their part to reduce the spread of the disease. These visible measures also help with the perception of having a safer workplace for the customers and the employees.
Worker’ Compensation Covers COVID Claims?
The State of Florida does cover COVID claims if these claims meet the typical qualifications of a workers compensation claim. The Florida’s Chief Financial Officer published the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation 2020 COVID-19 Report with Data Summary as of May 31, 2020. This provides interesting data and information regarding COVID-19 and Workers’ Comp in the State of Florida.