Although the pandemic is slowly subsiding, with lockdown restrictions easing and stores reopening, COVID-19 continues to present new challenges.

Every business wants to prevent customers from contracting the deadly virus while on its premises because it could lead to a lawsuit.

The thought of getting sued has led to an increasing number of businesses using COVID-19 liability waivers. They ask clients to sign a liability waiver form getting their approval that they’re aware of the risks and that the company is free of any obligations if they get the virus.

In this blog, we’ll discuss liability waivers in more detail, including what they are, how they help minimise risks, who should get them, and more.

What is a COVID-19 Liability Waiver?

A COVID-19 liability waiver is a legal document meant to safeguard businesses as they reopen during the ongoing pandemic. As of now, only a few states have specified liability waiver limits or immunity from lawsuits related to COVID-19.

Having customers sign a waiver not only protects your business but also helps you assure them that you’re taking appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of infection. It’s also important to note that liability waivers may protect your business against different claims made by customers and vendors.

However, companies considering COVID-19 waivers should consider all associated business risks as they can hamper a business’s image and relationships in the long run.

READ: The Impact of COVID-19 on Email Marketing and What to Expect Next

Simply put, COVID-19 liability waivers are an excellent tool that Australian businesses can use as a part of their strategy while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you must implement it with extreme care and precision.

The larger applicability of COVID-19 liability waivers varies as it is primarily governed by state law. However, in general, the chances of COVID-19 waivers being enforced on businesses are high if they’re clear, include appropriate language as mandated by the applicable state, and objectively identify the claims being waived.

Who Should Get a COVID-19 Liability Waiver in Australia? 

Using the COVID-19 liability waiver form makes sense for the following: 

a. Business owners reopening their establishments after the pandemic-related restrictions and looking to protect their business and customers.

b. Businesses coming back after lockdown and want to inform customers of the safety precautions they implemented.

c. Businesses that involve coming in close contact with people and offering services that are not specifically social-distancing compliant, such as fitness centres, adventure parks, etc.

Take note that businesses should follow the safety measures as required by their state and local officials instead of using the COVID-19 liability waiver as a blanket waiver.

READ: Going Cashless in a Post-COVID-19 World: 5 Payment Methods for Your SME

Are COVID-19 Liability Waivers Legally Binding in Australia? 

Businesses need to keep in mind that COVID-19 liability waivers are not necessarily enforceable. The other party may still have the right to claim compensation if they sustain an injury or catch an infection.

The liability waiver, for this reason, must have clear wording and conditions so that each party understands what’s included in the contract and what they agree to.

In case of ambiguous language, where you’re not sure what you’re waiving your rights to, a court may consider the waiver legally non-binding.

Should You Use a Liability Waiver? 

Regardless of the type of business you run in Australiaonline, physical or hybrid – if you’re concerned about COVID-19 liability exposure, it makes sense to consult a qualified business attorney. 

In addition, you should carefully consider and analyse various potential, non-legal impacts of requiring your staff members to sign waivers. 

While a well-drafted liability waiver may be beneficial to your business in terms of offering protection, you should customise it based on your specific business needs and the existing laws relating to COVID-19.

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