We are officially halfway through 2020 and COVID is still a very real threat and ever-changing, especially in the event industry. We’ve been writing about, creating contracts for, and updating you on this pandemic for months and we hope this post serves as an FAQ!
CLAUSES YOUR CONTRACT SHOULD HAVE TO PROTECT YOURSELF!
- Cancellation Clause
- Rescheduling Clause
- Inclement Weather Clause
- Safe Working Environment Clause
- Clients' Responsibility to Secure Insurance Clause
- Indemnification Clause
- Limitation of Liability
- Force Majeure Clause
- Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause
Are you wondering what these clauses are and what they specifically relate to?!
Download this free checklist that goes step-by-step through each clause and how it will protect your business as well as your clients under these types of unpredictable situations. Remember, The Legal Paige always suggests you have two-sided contracts that also grant your clients rights and responsibilities under the contract (and they are way more likely to agree to a contract that allows them to be excused from performance in the event of acts of God).
Due to the sweeping government mandates and orders that have gone into effect over the past few days, many events are getting cancelled or postponed. Although the recent CDC recommendation is just guidance and is not a mandate, it has had a significant impact on federal, state, and local governments beginning to implement actual restrictions on travel and close person-to-person contact.
In response to these mandates and orders, events of anywhere from 10+ people to 250+ people have made changes. Many clients are cancelling or rescheduling their events. Thus, as event industry professionals, it is critical to take action and have a plan for your client contracts.
Unfortunately, despite all client communication and your best efforts to reschedule, sometimes your clients will want to cancel services and/or request a refund. Since it’s unclear WHEN life will finally get back to normal after this pandemic, clients may want some financial certainty that comes with a cancellation and a refund, especially since lots of people don’t know when or IF they can reschedule. Knowing how to navigate these waters and still provide support and excellent service to your clients can be tricky, which is why we at The Legal Paige are here to help walk you through.
Did you purchase the addendum and rescheduling bundle? If you did, YES! Below are four posts specifically on how to use them. If you didn’t, what are you waiting for?!
If you haven't yet, what are you waiting for?! Purchase the Bundle NOW!
One thing to consider right now is adding a "Covid-19" clause to your new contracts that clients will sign over the next year. Because Coronavirus is a "known" cause, it’s unlikely to fall under Force Majeure for new contracts signed because it’s not "unforeseeable" or "unpredictable". Moreover, as government orders start getting lifted, clients will be left having to make the decision whether to continue to host their event/wedding with the continuance of a health risk to their guests (it will also vary greatly depending on the location of the event). Thus, it is best to explicitly lay out what your business's policies are regarding Covid-19, the ability to reschedule (and a number of times you will allow a reschedule with or without a fee), and the refundability or non-refundability of the retainer. This clause features the ability to reschedule with a proper "x" days notice, rescheduling without a fee for "x" amount of months, the responsibility of the client to work with your business to find a new rescheduled date available on your calendar, the potential increase in pricing for prime dates in 2021 (depending on your business practices), and the forfeit of the retainer in the event of pure cancellation.
The Legal Paige worked with 5 industry pros to draft this template clause and it includes everything you’ll need to be protected when clients need to reschedule or cancel due to Covid. Remember, you can always negotiate this clause with each client depending on the situation and modify it so your clients also feel good and secure about booking you. And, this clause is only needed in contracts where your clients want more specificity surrounding Covid-19 rescheduling and cancellation. Otherwise, you can still use your general rescheduling and cancellation policies.
Now, if you’ve been through ALL this and you have that updated contract and you’re ready to reschedule an event, we’re here to tell you how to LEGALLY update and send it to your clients! This post includes swipe copy!
If you are heading back to work as your state is opening *we have a blog post for that too!
We also sell COVID waivers for family photographers, wedding and event pros, and single service businesses. Click on the images below!
The two-page release and waiver can be used as an additional way to notify your clients of the risk associated with performing services at this time due to the unknown nature of contracting Covid-19 and to have them release you from liability associated with that risk. When you have it in writing, it sets the tone at the beginning of your relationship that you are aware of the risks associated with the current pandemic. The Legal Paige highly suggests using this Covid-19 release and wavier of liability for any type of wedding or a larger event with a gathering of people. This is a single template contract that can be used in addition to your full contract and is intended to be used on its own.
THIS BLOG POST IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT & IS FACT-SPECIFIC. A proper legal analysis is necessary based on your location and contract. Consult an attorney in your home state for advice regarding your contract.