Over the past few weeks, California small business owners such as myself have worked diligently to ensure a safe reopening and to make sure we do everything we can to keep employees and customers healthy.
This concern – combined with the fact that we’re operating during an economic recession – is a lot for business owners to handle. What’s worse, on top of this pandemic, we’re now facing the threat of coronavirus-related lawsuits. A threat that has the potential to shut all of us down for good.
What is a coronavirus-related lawsuit? The nature of COVID-19 makes it impossible to know for sure where or when someone contracted the virus. Trial lawyers are taking advantage of this. They’ll file a suit claiming an employee or customer contracted the coronavirus while on the business’s property, therefore making that business owner liable. And while it’s impossible to prove where someone contracted COVID-19, it’s also impossible to disprove. Therefore, even if a business owner has taken all of the necessary safety precautions, these baseless lawsuits will still go to court where it will take up everyone’s time and money and will likely end in the small business being destroyed by the costs alone.
It’s expensive to defend yourself against a ridiculous lawsuit. These days, it’s a cost that small business owners simply can’t afford. The coronavirus dealt a set of extremely difficult circumstances, and it came at a great price. COVID-19 shut California’s businesses down for months. We lost revenue, we lost our income, we lost employees.
Finally, things are reopening. However, it wasn’t cheap. In addition to the hefty cost of reopening a gym, we’re facing new, additional costs involved with safety precautions. We had to purchase safety equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer stations and gloves. Depending on the nature of the business, some others had to purchase and install Plexiglass and rearrange our floorplans. Ultimately, it’s safe to say money is tighter than ever. The last thing we need is to be hit with a COVID-19-related lawsuit.
We need our small businesses. They create jobs and support the economy. It’s simply unfair that small business owners that are doing everything in their power to keep people safe can be shut down over one of these baseless lawsuits. Stand up for what’s right. Let’s put a stop to California’s lawsuit abuse today.
Nick Fox is the owner of Stone Fitness.