Who’s responsible if I catch COVID-19 at a restaurant or other private business? A lawyer answers


““It’s a big question, and I think the short and the long answer is ‘yes,’ ” said George Wray, a lawyer and partner with Borden Ladner Gervais.

It’s a novel situation, both in the legal landscape and because there’s still much to learn about the virus itself, “but there are still statutory obligations that restaurant owners, retail stores (and) business owners who have a physical presence owe to people they invite onto their premises,” he said.

Business owners need to take steps to ensure that both employees and patrons are safe within their stores, Wray said. “You have to keep your employees safe because they’re generally the ones interacting with your customers, but then you have to keep the customer safe as well. So it becomes quite a daunting task for a small-business owner who’s gone through a significant period of nonrevenue.”

Just because some stores around Ontario can open on Friday doesn’t necessarily mean that they should — especially if proper policies and procedures aren’t yet in place, Wray said.”