Was Your Small Business Harmed By the COVID-19 Outbreak? Three Options to Consider
In an effort to control the spread of the dangerous and deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a Stay-at-Home order, temporarily closing the physical locations of non essential businesses. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this public health measure, many small businesses are being forced to endure a heavy burden.
If your small business was temporarily shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak or if your company otherwise suffered significant losses, there are options available. Here, our West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys highlight three key things that small businesses should consider to help deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Option #1: State and Federal Government Programs
As a starting point, it is imperative that small business owners carefully review every local, state, and federal program. There have been several COVID-19 relief programs rolled out at multiple different levels of government. Perhaps most importantly, your company may be eligible to get a fully forgivable loan through the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Through CARES Act funding, eligible small businesses can get their payroll, rent, and utility payments covered. Do not leave money on the table. Make sure you get access to the funding that your company is entitled to under the law.
Option #2: Insurance Coverage—including a Business Interruption Policy
Some businesses may be eligible for financial relief through business interruption insurance coverage. Make sure you review all of your commercial insurance policies to determine if there is any path to recovery. Do not assume that you are not covered. It is always worth exploring every available option—especially during difficult times. If you have any questions about your insurance policies, an experienced Florida small business attorney can help.
That being said, unfortunately, even companies that have business interruption coverage may struggle to get financial support. Many business interruption policies require actual physical damage to the premises—and they may argue that coronavirus exposure does not qualify. Additionally, some policies explicitly exclude coverage for pandemics, viruses, and diseases. Still, all policies should be carefully reviewed and evaluated.
Option #3: Negotiation and Agreement With Commercial Partners and Other Parties
Finally, you should review all contracts and relationships with other companies, contractors, and your employees. The economic impact of the coronavirus-related shutdowns has been truly enormous. Many small business owners are dealing with similar problems. With a full understanding of your situation, you may be able to modify previous arrangements made with vendors, suppliers, commercial landlords, or other creditors. A lawyer can help you work towards restructuring contracts and other business relationships.
Get Help From a South Florida Small Business Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business law attorneys have the unique skills and legal experience needed to represent small companies. If you have any questions about the coronavirus, we can help you get answers. For a confidential consultation, please call us today. From our offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we represent small business owners throughout Southeastern Florida.