A Business Survival Checklist
By Scott McKessy
During these extraordinary times, we wanted to let you know that Halloran Sage attorneys are always thinking about how we can help you and your business navigate in the present day environment. While businesses may be forced to address novel issues affecting their operations, all businesses affected by COVID-19 should be thinking about the following issues and what can be done to be proactive in order to minimize any disruption to their business.
: Reach out to your Landlord to see what rent accommodations can be agreed to for the foreseeable future. You should also review your lease. While every lease is different and would require an individual analysis, leases routinely include Force Majeure or other impossibility-related provisions that may affect a tenant’s obligation to operate, complete construction, or possibly pay monthly rent. It should be noted that most Force Majeure provisions exclude the ability to defer rent, but there may be other arguments that could be leveraged when discussing an accommodation with your landlord. Modifications of monthly rental obligations are especially important for restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and other businesses that have been closed by Executive Order.
: Reach out to your lender(s) to see what accommodations can be made. Lenders may be willing to defer monthly loan payments and add those deferred months to the end of the loan. Moreover, both State and Federal governments are continuing to react to this pandemic, both to address the virus, itself, as well as the financial impact upon businesses. Staying in touch with your lender and monitoring governmental websites, in this regard, will help you keep abreast of any additional relief programs being implemented.
: Keep the lines of communication open with your employees with routine updates about the business, changes to any work policies, precautionary measures, closures, layoffs, etc. There are a myriad of employment issues that can arise from the present circumstances (FMLA leave, ADA requests, Workman Compensation, Unemployment, etc.) that would require a case specific analysis, but each employer should be aware of the privacy issues relating to an employee’s medical conditions. The Government is also in the process of enacting some emergency measures that may affect paid leave for employees affected by COVID-19 (i.e. the Families First Coronavirus Response Act).
: Reach out to your Insurance Broker. Your Insurance Broker is a great resource to assist you in understanding your insurance policy and the benefits afforded under its terms. Things to raise with your broker are provisions relating to Force Majeure, Business Interruption, Loss of Rental Income, etc. We are available to review your policy to confirm what coverage may be available to you.
: Reach out to your clients/customers to let them know what is going on with the business, the steps you have taken to ensure their safety and the safety of your employees, to let them know how you intend to address any interruption in services, and that you look forward to returning to business as usual once this crisis recedes.
: Reach out to all business-critical partners to discuss any supply or payment issues that may result from the current circumstances. This will allow each business partner to assess if any disruption in the business relationship will have further ramifications or necessitate further action.
These are just some of the issues to be thinking about and addressing in the present environment, and efforts to get ahead of them will help minimize the disruption COVID-19 may have on your business. We at Halloran Sage understand these issues and stand prepared to assist your business navigate through these rocky waters.
For more information or if you have any specific questions, please contact: