The UNchecklist Approach to Business Planning During COVID-19

It’s hard to believe, but our COVID-19 summer is almost over. We’ve now battled COVID-19 through two seasons … although it seems like it’s been two years. With another batch of schools reopening next week, we’ll quickly be moving into the next “season” of COVID-19. I wish we could predict what that looks like. One thing we can predict: there will be changes in the way our schools operate, which will inevitably affect the way our businesses operate.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were forced to develop contingency plans quickly. Now businesses are shifting from crisis management, to return to work, and to maintaining operations during the ups and downs of the pandemic.

Now is the time to reexamine your COVID-19 policies and practices that you implemented months ago to see if they are still relevant for the fall. The internet is awash with COVID-19 business planning “checklists.” At Graydon, we believe that a one-size-fits-all checklist is not enough because each business is unique and assisting businesses navigate the impact of COVID-19 means considering the nuances of the industry, physical space, business structure, and culture of each business.

Here are some of the key business and legal issues businesses should consider as they navigate these uncertain times:

  • Does your business have an exposure response plan for when an employee tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19?
  • Does your business have a mask policy that complies with local laws and guidelines?
  • Are your employment policies up to date and compliant with current guidance?
  • Does your business have a process for monitoring changes in COVID-19 state and local law and guidance?
  • Do your operations comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines?
  • Do you have a process for handling Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave requests and tacking available tax credits?
  • Are you operations incorporating updated Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines?
  • Does your business have cybersecurity policies in place for a work from home environment?
  • Does your business have a process for monitoring ongoing Payroll Protection Program ongoing compliance?
  • Are your employee benefits policies up to date and compliant with current COVID-19 guidance?
  • Is your business complying with changes state unemployment requirements?
  • Is your employee travel policy up to date and flexible enough to adapt to changing outbreaks?

As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses, the key is not to think in terms of a static checklist, rather, successful businesses will develop a process for ongoing compliance monitoring in order to adapt in real time and remain flexible in this environment.

At Graydon, our multi-disciplinary team stays up to date on the latest COVID-19 laws, guidance, and best practices so we can work alongside businesses as they navigate operating in pandemic environment. Contact your Graydon attorney or a member of our Graydon COVID-19 Task Force for more information on how we can assist you in all you COVID-19 business needs.