During the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have to face temporary business closures to hopefully save their business in the long run. When this happens, there is a lot of information and processes that must be undertaken for employees and customers to have correct information about the closure. As the employer, it is your responsibility to do the following tasks to temporarily close your business and prepare it for a future reopening.
The most important overall thing you must do during a temporary business closure is to maintain communication. First, let your employees know as soon as possible if they have to be laid off, so they can apply for any applicable benefits. Or, if you plan on keeping some employees with cut hours, let them know right away about the loss of hours. If you are able, consider letting employees stay on by continuing their work remotely. This option could also potentially mean you can avoid shutting down altogether.
Inform Customers and Vendors
Besides informing your employees of the temporary business closure, you must also reach out to:
- Customers: post notices on your website, storefront, and social media pages. Post updates if anything changes.
- Vendors and Suppliers: let them know you need to suspend supplies and inventory temporarily.
- Investors: Let them know why your business is temporarily closing, and when they may expect a reopen.
If you are temporarily closing due to the coronavirus, let people know that information as well.
Communicate With Your Bank
If your business is closing due to coronavirus, there are numerous state and federal loans worth investigating. Consult with your financial advisor to determine which may be best for you. Alternatively, you could meet with your financial advisor to identify where you can cut costs to create a new business budget.
Provide Unemployment Information
If you have to lay off or furlough employees due to a temporary business closure, you can direct your employees to the information they need regarding unemployment and COBRA.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows employees and their spouses and dependents to continue their group health insurance if they become ineligible for your company’s plan. If you offer COBRA coverage, provide any affected laid off or furloughed employees with details.
File Employment Forms
Your regular responsibility of filling out and filing employment and payroll forms does not stop when you are in a temporary business closure. The forms you need to file, as always, depend on the time of year and your business. Make sure to keep track of potentially changing due dates, so you don’t miss any important dates.
Keep Detailed Records
During a temporary business closure, you should keep detailed records about your closure dates, any employees laid off, any employees paid during the closure, and any transactions you may have had during the shutdown period. Keeping thorough records is especially important if you are planning on taking out loans or taking advantage of the credit available to you during the COVID-19 crisis.
Follow Federal and State Regulations
Naturally, you want to make sure that your business closure does not go against any laws or regulations of the federal or state government. These laws may cover unemployment, COBRA, payroll, and paid time off. You should also inspect any new requirements that come with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the CARES Act, or any state legislation.
The most important part of maintaining good business practices during a closure due to the coronavirus is to communicate regularly with any affected parties and to stay up to date on laws and changing regulations. Your business may have closed its doors, but your work has not stopped.
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