The negative impact of COVID-19 has been felt across Ontario. With businesses re-opening, there are things business owners can do to lower their liability risk and keep customers and employees safe.
Ontario has begun entering Stage 3, with the reopening of businesses and public spaces. Below are realistic tips to consider regarding business liability before you open your doors in this new COVID-19 climate.
Three Simple Tips to Reduce Liability Risk
1 | Follow Government Mandates and Recommendations
It is essential to stay on top of government updates regarding any new COVID-19 mandates or recommendations. At this point, it would be beneficial to check daily to ensure you are aware of all new developments. For example, social/physical distancing is very important, and everyone is encouraged to keep a two-metre distance apart.
LIABILITY RISK TIP >> To reduce your potential liability risk, follow the Ontario Government COVID-19 mandates and recommendations.
2 | Provide Waivers of Liability
Having visitors sign a waiver of liability regarding disease transmission is a great tactic to ensure your customers are aware of the risk. Your waiver should be very specific to your own business and include COVID-19 Assumption of Risk, Release, and Waiver of Liability details with signature. This basically informs your customers that even though you are taking all necessary precautions to lessen their total risk, by entering they are assuming a potential risk.
***It’s important to note that waivers may not prevent a lawsuit, however, if a suit is filed, a copy of the waiver along with your COVID-19 protocols and procedures manual will allow the courts to see that everything the business could do to protect the client was done.***
LIABILITY RISK TIP >> Precautionary actions on behalf of your business and a detailed waiver will go hand in hand when reducing your business liability - you should not just do one or the other.
3 | Contact Your Insurance Broker and Stay Informed
It is important to consult with your insurance broker in order to stay informed and ensure that you have the best possible coverage for this current climate. Industries and business models are rapidly changing; stay connected with your broker so you are aware of commercial insurance updates.
LIABILITY RISK TIP >> Having transparent dialogue with your insurance broker will ensure your commercial policy reflects your current company operations.