Small-business owners says they are concerned about COVID-19 lawsuits

Illinois small-business owners surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business say they’re concerned about the possibility of lawsuits related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sixty-two percent of owners who responded to the online survey say they’re very or moderately concerned about increased liability. Eighteen percent say they’re not too concerned; 10 percent aren’t concerned at all.

“Baseless lawsuits are a constant concern of small business owners,” NFIB State Director Mark Grant said. “The cost of defending itself against a bogus claim can be enough to make a small business close for good, even if the case is eventually thrown out of court.

“It’s clear from the survey that our members are concerned about the threat of lawsuits that exploit the already devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus,” Grant said. “That’s why it’s crucial that our elected leaders here and in Washington take steps to protect small businesses from predatory lawsuits at a time when they are especially vulnerable.”

In addition, the survey said:

• 72 percent are concerned about getting back customers.
• 70 percent are concerned about complying with health and safety regulations related to the novel coronavirus:
• 60 percent are concerned about getting an adequate supply of hand sanitizer and disinfectant.
• 58 percent are very or moderately concerned about managing customers’ health and safety; 56% say they’re concerned about addressing the health and safety of their employees.
• 56 percent are concerned about checking employees’ temperatures upon arrival.
• 53 percent are concerned about screening employees for symptoms of the coronavirus.
• 45 percent are concerned about requiring employees to wear masks.
• 43 percent are concerned about requiring employees and customers to stay at least 6 feet apart.
• 33 percent are concerned about training employees on CDC guidelines to protect against the spread of the virus.
• 32 percent are concerned about disinfecting workstations and equipment frequently.
• 28 percent are concerned about disinfecting common areas frequently.
• 7 percent believe their local economy will return to pre-shutdown levels by July; 17 percent, by December; 44 percent, sometime in 2021; 19 percent, between 2022-24; 4 percent believe it will take even longer.

“I think the survey shows that our members understand that restarting will be a process that takes time,” Grant said. “Our hope is that our state officials will allow more businesses to reopen soon so they can begin to recover and put people back to work.”

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