Few states were hit as hard, or as early, by the coronavirus pandemic as New York. As such, it was also one of the first states to enact a quarantine, and one of the first to get the disease under a measure of control. As infections have begun to skyrocket and more people are being hospitalized for COVID-19, businesses are now readying themselves for another possible quarantine.
The (First) Coronavirus Quarantine
New York became one of the first states to issue a quarantine in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to telling people to stay at home except when absolutely necessary, it also placed heavy restrictions on businesses, limiting their ability to operate during the quarantine. Some businesses were forced to operate remotely, where possible, while others simply were forced to close entirely. Employees that were designated non-essential were either fired or furloughed.
The quarantine had its intended effect, limiting the spread of the coronavirus and keeping it within manageable levels. As a result, the rate of infection and death was lower than was initially anticipated by epidemiologists. However, businesses suffered from the restrictions that were placed on them, an issue that was further exacerbated by many people suddenly refusing to spend money on things and places where they once spent freely.
The Effect it Had on Businesses
Unfortunately, many businesses that closed during the pandemic never reopened, and even those that did reopen are still struggling to recover. The lost income from being forced to close or shift their operations has hit small businesses and big businesses alike, and even as they have reopened many have struggled to get back to their pre-quarantine profits. Some businesses have attempted to file for business interruption insurance claims to cover the losses from the quarantine, but success in these claims have been inconsistent at best.
In addition, businesses have now made COVID-19 restrictions a standard part of their business practices. Most stores now conduct temperature checks or other forms of testing on employees to determine if they might carry the coronavirus, and most stores now require customers to maintain a six-foot distance inside their buildings at all times. Masks are now a common feature in businesses across New York, as the mask mandate initially instituted in March has never been revoked.
The Risks of the Next Quarantine
Many businesses fear the effect another quarantine might have on their bottom lines, which were still hurting from the effects of the last quarantine. Even with support from legislation like the CARES Act, and help from Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans, many businesses struggled to get through the most intense parts of the coronavirus quarantine. Without any similar support appearing to be on the horizon, the prospect of another quarantine is terrifying to many business owners.
And yet, Governor Andrew Cuomo has already instituted restrictions on businesses such as bars, preventing them from staying open past 10:00 PM. These measures, though currently limited, could be the prelude to more intensive measures in the near future. Soon, it may be yet another full quarantine, and businesses wonder how they are supposed to make it through.
The business law attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Clark are skilled and knowledgeable in the areas of business law and commercial transactions. With offices conveniently located in Garden City, Nassau County, and Babylon, Suffolk County, the firm provides high-quality legal care at reasonable prices. If you require legal assistance concerning business startups, formation, corporate acquisitions and mergers, corporate restructuring, or another business matter, call (516) 280-7105 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.