Reopening California: Bay Area attorney warns businesses of potential lawsuits amid COVID-19 crisis

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- As businesses begin to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, many people are voicing their safety concerns.

Labor attorney April Glatt of Chauvel & Glatt in San Mateo says these reopening businesses need to have safety protocols in place - Not only to protect employees and patrons, but to protect themselves from lawsuits.

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"I wouldn't put it past a lot of plaintiff attorneys to determine what nonce or loophole they can find," Glatt said.

At San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, the crowds are getting larger and more and more businesses are opening up.

At Cioppino's, they've been doing to-go orders for about two weeks. We asked general manager Mia Harriman about her concerns when it comes to safety protocols, especially when the dining room opens.

"It's challenging, but at the same time if this is what we have to do to get back into business than this is what we have to do," Harriman said.

She believes her staff will have an upper hand when it comes to meeting safety protocols, as hygiene, sanitizing, and disinfecting have been focuses of theirs for sometime.

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Glatt has already seen lawsuits involving reopened businesses filed in other parts of the country and expects the same to happen here.

She says employees, patrons, and anyone else who visits an establishment must feel safe first and foremost to minimize problems.

"There's a California labor code that addresses whistle blower scenarios and you need, as an employer, business owner, or restaurant owner opening up, you need to take these complaints seriously."

Glatt recommends that every employer seek legal counsel before they reopen saying that just as the situation regarding COVID-19 is changing, so are the legalities regarding it.

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