Member News

COVID-19: Must Your Business Close?

As local governments seek to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), states, counties and cities have issued executive orders, recommendations and mandatory restrictions that limit business operations and public gatherings. Specific examples appear below. These pronouncements are constantly changing and subject to various, sometimes conflicting “clarifications.” In deciding whether your business should close, you should check the following:

• Nature of the business: Restaurants and entertainment venues are getting the lion’s share of regulatory attention.

• Essential vs. nonessential: The most important distinction is whether a business is “essential.” Definitions vary greatly, so you must look at the specific definition by the regulatory authority, together with the lists of examples that are typically set forth.

• Whether the policy is permissive or mandatory: Some fall in either category, and some, like Pennsylvania, are unclear.

• Best practices independent of the regulators: You should also evaluate best social distancing practices, independent of whether you are ordered to shut down. Can all or most of your staff work remotely? If not, can they be kept six feet apart? Are common areas being constantly cleaned? Failure to abide by prevailing health recommendations may create unnecessary liability for your company.

Compliments of Pepper Hamilton LLP – a member of the EACCNY
Jeremy Heep, Partner, Philadelphia | 215 981 4972
William M. Taylor, Partner, Boston | 617 204 5186
Angelo A. Stio III, Partner, Princeton | 609 951 4125
Jaclyn M. Essinger, Associate, Boston | 617 443 3711
Martha E. Guarnieri, Associate, Philadelphia | 215 981 4152
Kaitlin L. O’Donnell, Associate, Philadelphia | 215 981 4471