Mark your calendars for May 18th, the date that non-essential businesses around Miami will begin to open as we enter the “new normal”. Although many are excited to get out of the house and resume normal operations, others worry that lifting restrictions will lead to further outbreaks of COVID-19. Citizens are concerned that businesses are opening too soon and they do not have proper safety guidelines to follow. These fears are not unfounded. In Texas, businesses started to reopen on May 1st. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, conducted a secret investigation of businesses to determine if they were following safety protocols. The results were alarming: 96% of open stores weren’t compliant with the protocols.
Numbers don’t lie. If businesses were unable to comply with safety protocols in Texas, Florida businesses are likely to experience these same failures. Unfortunately, if their customers contract COVID-19 from their failures, it could open them up to liability or cause another outbreak causing localized areas of new quarantine orders. As we begin to return to some normalcy, you may be asking, “What duties will businesses have when they reopen?”
According to Miami-Dade’s New Normal document, businesses are required to:
- Implement strict social distancing guidelines by visually marking 6 ft. separation areas in place such as queues and elevators
- Limit the maximum capacity of their stores to ensure social distancing
- Sanitize all surfaces in the store including bathrooms
- Enforce personal protective equipment (e.g., face masks, gloves)
- Monitor their staff for any signs of COVID-19 and enforce 14-day quarantines for all at-risk employees
- Train all personnel in new operating protocols
While following the above guidelines does not shield a business completely, it helps in showing that their safety measures were reasonable under the circumstances, which if you’ve viewed our other blogs, is the gold standard for liability. As we enter a “new normal”, businesses will need to continuously adjust their safety measures to protect consumers. You, the consumer, will need to be mindful of the safety protocols businesses should enforce, so you can protect yourself by shopping at safer places.
Learn more about all things COVID-19 related by visiting our Resource Center.