Will Corona virus affect your business?

Even though I am a business attorney, I worry like most business owners about current events. Recently, the news and the markets have been rattled by the outbreak of the corona virus. Like me, you are probably wondering how the virus could affect your business and how to mitigate any damages that could be caused by it.

 

For companies that manufacture products (or have products manufactured for them by third parties), the biggest area of concern is where your products are manufactured and where the raw materials to manufacture them come from. If you use manufacturers in China or other areas where the corona virus has shut down factories, you should be looking at securing other manufacturers. Legally, entering into contracts with these manufacturers earlier rather than later may help you against competition that hasn’t done so.

For companies that provide retail or hospitality services, ensuring that you have enough staff to cover for sick employees could be essential. While you may not want to hire additional employees, you can reach out to companies that have different hours or, if your employees are mostly part-time, to companies that also have mostly part-time employees. You can have an agreement with these companies that if either of you are short staffed, you can call the other company to use their employees while they aren’t working for them. Of course, you would want to discuss this with your business lawyer or employment lawyer before you do so to find out the best way to structure the arrangement.

For companies that can offer it, having employees work from home can help mitigate the spread of any disease and keep your business up and running. Essential personnel can still report to the office, but by having less employees at the office, your essential staff can try to maintain CDC recommended distances from each other. Prior to allowing employees to work from home, it is important to contact your insurance company to see if there are any issues with this arrangement. You will also want your business attorney to write agreements for employees to sign if they are going to take any company property home with them, such as a laptop, cell phone, or printer.

Lastly, ensuring that sick employees do not come to work is key. While this is a good policy anyway, with the spread of the flu and potentially the corona virus, it is extremely important. One sick employee at work could easily create a situation where ten employees are out a few days later.

If you need help with any of the agreements listed above, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

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