COVID-19 Crisis: Important Questions To Ask
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 18, 2020
To Clients, Colleagues, and all of our SSJLaw Family and Friends:
Like many of you, SSJLaw is working remotely as a safety measure to help mitigate public exposure to COVID 19. SSJLaw is fully functional and has all of its resources available to help our clients and prospective clients.
SSJLaw is committed to assisting our clients effectively operate and adapt throughout this time. Laws, rules, regulations and policies that govern your businesses and interactions with governmental regulators, and the courts, are changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
In times like these, we believe that the most important thing for us all to do is ask as many questions as possible. We cannot assume, upon a first-time read through, that anyone can fully understand what is meant by the Orders or in some cases, “suggestions”—being issued by our State or local governments.
Moreover, the Order that was issued last night or this morning may be amended, rescinded, or interpreted differently today or tomorrow. We cannot be complacent. At the moment there is no status quo.
There is an old adage: “You don’t know what you don’t know”. In other words, sometimes you don’t even know the questions to ask.
SSJLaw is here to help you ask the right questions, and we will work through the answers together. These questions include:
- Emergency governmental procedures, laws, and regulations concerning the Coronavirus – Some Questions: How soon do I have to comply? Does it apply to my particular businesses? Is my business exempt? Does it apply explicitly? Does it apply implicitly? Is my business an “essential business”? Should I contact the State or local agency to ask if it applies to my particular business? What are the risks if I do contact the regulator and ask? If one part of my business is considered “essential” and another part is not what do I do? Am I required to shut down or is it “just” the government urging me to shut down? What are the consequences, if any, if I do not comply?
- Business interruption and related insurance policies – Some Questions: Will my insurance cover me for loss of income or business interruption? Are their exemptions or exclusions? Should I make a claim now or wait? If my broker tells me there is no coverage should I not make a claim, or make a claim and put the burden on my insurance carrier to tell me in writing one way or another? How do I categorize and memorialize my damages as they occur?
- Contract-related issues concerning Acts of God, illness, or national emergencies – Some Questions: There is a Force Majeure clause in our contracts, what does that mean? Is there other language in my contracts, Leases, vendor contracts, etc. that allows me to rescind, cancel, enforce, or defer my benefits, remedies, or obligations? What do I need to do and when do I need to do it?
- Employment & Labor issues – Some Questions: Can employees be laid off? What benefits can be provided to employees if they are terminated or laid off, partially or fully? How do I keep my employees and customers safe? What happens if I don’t? Does Workers Compensation insurance provide protection to me as an employer or to me as an employee?
- Liability to Employees or to Customers – Some Questions: If I require or allow employees to work at the office or store or restaurant and they contract the Corona Virus, or get exposed, and cannot work, am I liable and does Workers Compensation insurance protect fully against that risk? If I allow customers to visit my business and they contract the Virus or get exposed and cannot work am I liable and does my Liability Insurance protect fully against that risk? Will my employees or my customers sue me in court?
We wish you good health.
Stay safe, and please do not hesitate to let us know how we can help you during this crisis.
Stephen Warren Solomon
Ralph Barat Saltsman
Stephen Allen Jamieson
R. Bruce Evans
Ryan M. Kroll
Jennifer Lynn Oden