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Coronavirus: questions for businesses

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Posted by Sarah Perry on 18 March 2020

Sarah Perry - Dispute Resolution - Managing Partner
Sarah Perry Managing Partner

The impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on business has been unprecedented.  At Wright Hassall we have put together a dedicated team to look at all the issues businesses are facing.  These are wide ranging and complex, particularly as the situation changes from day-to-day.

Depending on the type of business you operate, some of the major questions you might want to consider are:


  • What happens if an employee is worried about Coronavirus and wants to self-isolate because they are in a high risk group, for example, because they have a pre-existing medical condition or because they are pregnant?
  • What happens if an employee contracts Coronavirus or has been advised to self-isolate by a medical professional?
  • What are the difference between medical suspension, sickness absence and self-isolation?
  • What do I do if I have a downturn in business and I want to lay my staff off?
  • What do I do if my employees have to take time off to care for dependants because schools are closing?
Tina Chander - Head of Employment Law

Tina Chander, Head of Employment Law

Dealing with customers and suppliers

  • I am a supplier and my customer is excused from making payment due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). How will this affect me?
  • My business is having difficulties delivering goods and/or services to my customers due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). What do I do?
  • My supplier is failing to deliver goods and/or services to my business (or threatening to do so) due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). What do I do?
  • Do I have to continue to pay my suppliers as normal?
  • Will my insurance cover me? Can this help with paying suppliers?
Iain Colville - Intellectual Property Disputes Lawyer

Iain Colville, Litigation Lawyer


  • We have senior and business-critical staff in the UK whose visas expire soon. What happens if Government offices close, applications are suspended and they cannot enrol biometrics because of the virus?
  • An executive from our overseas office is in the middle of transferring to the UK with her family, but she has just been told that her visa application is suspended due to Coronavirus closures. She has rented her apartment out from next month and we need her to start work here. What do we do?
  • What happens when an overseas employee whose assignment is ending cannot leave because of travel bans and risks overstaying their visa?
Matthew Davies - Immigration Lawyer

Matthew Davies, Head of Business Immigration

Insolvency and director duties

  • As a director, I am worried that as a result of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) my company is about to run out of cash.  What are my duties as a director and what steps should I take to protect myself from criticism?
  • My business is about to run out of cash, what should I do and who do I need to speak to about this?
  • Should my business consider restructuring steps in the current climate and what are the options?
  • My business is in breach of its financial covenants with a lending institution, what should I do and who should I speak to about the concerns I have with meeting existing debt arrangements?
  • have run out of money to pay my staff and suppliers and need to shut down my business immediately.  What should I do?
  • I think my business maybe insolvent? What does that mean for directors and shareholders and what is the difference between liquidation, administration and a company voluntary arrangement?
Caroline Benfield - Insolvency Lawyer

Caroline Benfield, Insolvency Lawyer

Commercial tenants

  • I am a commercial tenant struggling financially. Am I able to end my lease?
  • How do I know if there a break clause, and what does this entail?

Commercial landlords

  • I am a commercial landlord and my tenants are asking about suspending rent payments. Where do I stand?
  • If I cannot afford to suspend rent payments, what do I do?
Mary Rouse - Property Litigation Lawyer

Mary Rouse, Property Litigation Lawyer


  • Can I claim extra time as a result of coronavirus to complete the building work?
  • Can I postpone a project due to coronavirus if I have already signed a contract?
  • What can I do if I have not been paid?
  • How do I protect myself against supplier insolvency?
  • Who is liable if the site is inaccessible due to coronavirus?
Michael Hiscock - Construction Lawyer

Michael Hiscock, Head of Construction


  • When is the most appropriate time to commence a restructuring process for my company?
  • Is it possible to reorganise my business to allow for profitable parts of the business to continue and allow for the non-profitable parts to be separated?
  • What funding is available to assist with any restructuring process?
Robert Lee - Head of Corporate Law

Robert Lee, Head of Corporate

Banking and finance

  • My business has applied to borrow money, and I’m not sure I want to proceed. What do I do next?
  • I’m not sure of my business’ current liabilities and whether I am on the hook myself if my company starts to struggle.  What can I do?
  • How does my business get its hands on all this government cash that has been released?
Lucie Byron - Banking and Finance Lawyer

Lucie Byron, Banking and Finance Lawyer

About the author

Sarah Perry

Managing Partner

Sarah is the firm's Managing Partner and head of the firm's highly regarded dispute resolution group.

Sarah Perry

Sarah is the firm's Managing Partner and head of the firm's highly regarded dispute resolution group.

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