COVID-19 is unprecedented in its impact on life and government. In the past few months, Colorado has issued executive orders, regulations, and health standards in an emergency response to the pandemic. Above all, a business owner has a duty to provide a safe environment for people in your place of business.
The state’s safer-at-home public health and executive orders can be found here: https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-in-colorado/public-health-executive-orders-resource Public Health Order 20-28, sets out the guidelines every business should follow. Among them are:
- Deputize a workplace coordinator charged with addressing COVID-19 issues;
- Maintain a six-foot separation between employees;
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch areas;
- Post signage for employees and customers on good hygiene;
- Ensure proper ventilation;
- Gatherings of more than 10 people;
- Implement symptom monitoring protocols and daily temperature checks; and
- Eliminate or regularly clean and disinfect common spaces.
Business owners are responsible to know and implement the guidelines put into place by the Colorado Department of Health and executive orders. Also, it’s important that you remain aware of any updates and carry out those updates if they apply to your business.
Moreover, if a COVID-19 transmission occurs to one of clients or customers then your business may be sued under negligence per se, or ordinary negligence. Memorialize your COVID-19 business policies in writing.
Negligence Per Se
In negligence per se cases, a person must show a violation of a statute or regulation. In general, the purpose of the statute or regulation is to promote public safety. The statute or regulation protects the individual, and the violation of the statute or regulation caused harm resulting in damages.
Ordinarily in negligence cases, the judge or jury must weigh all of the facts of the case. Overall, this includes a consideration of a violation of a statute, regulation, or executive order, as well as a violation of a reasonable standard of care which caused damages.
Protection for your business may come from the business’ commercial insurance policy. Since the course of events is rapidly evolving, coverage under such policies has yet to be fully tested. Therefore, a review of a business’ insurance policy might be wise for your business. Lawyers and insurance professionals are very good resources to review your insurance policies and help make coverage determinations and recommendations.
All in all, business owners should contact an attorney and, insurance professional for a review and analysis of their business insurance policy. Getting out in front of potential litigation with a coverage review might be wise.
This article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice about your case or situation. There may be exceptions to the information outlined above. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your business.Follow me on social media: