As developments surrounding COVID-19 continue to escalate daily, concerns beyond our personal health and safety have quickly emerged. The virus has already made a significant impact on the global economy, altering the way businesses operate, as well as potentially seismic shifts in consumer activity.
To address issues critical to businesses and their employees, Bulkley Richardson has launched a COVID-19 Response Team comprised of seasoned attorneys in the areas of business, finance, employment, schools, health care and cybersecurity. In this time of great uncertainty, businesses are seeking legal counsel to help navigate this fluid landscape and prepare as we enter a period of uncertainty and rapid change.
Bulkley Richardson understand that each business will be affected differently and that taking proactive measures may help to minimize the risk of business interruptions. Our COVID-19 Response Team has prepared an initial catalog of issues to be considered by each business owner or manager. In the upcoming days, we will be expanding on this list and providing further detailed guidance. If you have specific questions, please contact a member of the COVID-19 Response Team or call 413-272-6200.
- Scott Foster (Business/Cybersecurity)
- Mark Cress (Business/Banking and Finance)
- Mary Jo Kennedy (Employment)
- Ryan Barry (Business/Banking and Finance/School, Colleges and Universities/Health Care)
- Judge John Greaney (Strategy)
- Sarah Willey (Business/Employment)
- Christopher St. Martin (Employment/Teleservices)
- How will you and your employees comply with new stringent health guidelines?
- With schools being closed for an extended period, how will your employees address childcare needs?
- How do you respond to an employee’s request to self-quarantine?
- What if an employee has potentially been exposed to the virus or has a confirmed case of COVID-19? Can you forbid that employee from coming to work? If you do, are you required to provide paid time off?
- What are your responsibilities as an employer to keep your employees safe from exposure to COVID-19 from your other employees or even your customers?
- If an employee suspects they have come into contact with COVID-19, or they have a confirmed infection, how does HIPAA restrict what you are allowed to tell other employees?
- Are you frequently monitoring local and Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC websites for updates?
- Can you require employees to continue with previously scheduled business travel?
- Have you considered the privacy, security and other issues posed by employees working remotely?
- Can you allow/demand that certain employees work from home while expecting others to come to work?
- What are the practical alternatives to holding classes, meetings and events?
Banking and Finance:
- What steps should you consider if your customers indicate they will be unable to pay for your services or products?
- What availability do you have under current financing facilities? Are these tied to any requirements to maintain A/R or inventory levels?
- Have you called your banker or landlord to talk about how COVID-19 may affect your business?
- Have you reviewed the force majeure provisions in your contracts (both supplier and customer)?
- If you are unable to meet your contractual obligations to others, how can you avoid further liability?
- Are you contractually required to inform your customers in advance of any potential for disruption in your ability to perform?
- Are losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak covered under business interruption or other types of insurance? If so, when do you need to notify your insurance agent and how do you file a claim?
- Have you advised employees to be aware of an increase in phishing or other cyber crimes?
- Are certain personnel critical to maintaining your cybersecurity protocols? Do you have sufficient back up if those employees are absent from work for an extended period?
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