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Covid-19 policies and implications for Small Businesses

New Government Policies Around COVID-19 Could Result In Further Legal Implications For Small Businesses

Over the past two years, we have seen a wide range of evolving compliance and regulatory policies relating to COVID-19, which have impacted the operations of small businesses in the Inland Empire (and throughout the country).  And change is on the horizon again. 

A few weeks ago, Governor Newsom announced that California is transitioning to an “endemic phase” of COVID-19 management, reflecting a policy shift of prioritizing prevention and quick response to outbreaks over mask mandates and business shutdowns. 

Similarly, just this week, at The State of the Union Address, President Biden declared that “we can end the shutdown of . . . businesses” and “[i]t’s time for America to get back to work.” 

These policy shifts certainly appear favorable to most small businesses, especially those that thrive on in-person customer interaction; however, they may also bring a new set of challenges for owners to tackle. 

For example, with more in-person interaction, is your business prepared to keep its employees and customers safe in the face of new, evolving COVID-19 regulations?  And, with a potential increase in demand for retail and business space, is your business prepared to negotiate a commercial lease to expand your operations?

Do you know the answers to these questions as applied to your small business?  If not, it may be time for a legal check-up. 

On the third Wednesday of every month throughout 2022, Inland Counties Legal Services (ICLS) hosts a Small Business Clinic, providing free legal advice for eligible small businesses in the Inland Empire.  Each business owner will meet one-on-one with an experienced attorney, receive legal information specific to their business, and create an “attack plan” detailing potential legal issues and next steps to take. For a flyer, click here ICLS Small Business Clinic (English)and here ICLS Small Business Clinic (Spanish)

Our volunteer attorneys advise owners of small businesses at all stages of formation, in all types of industries, and with a variety of legal issues.

  • Do you have a great business idea, but unsure what laws/regulations apply? Even before your business is up-and-running, it may be a good idea to meet with an experienced attorney who can discuss common legal issues, including how to select an appropriate business entity, how to limit business liability, how to ensure best practices in contracting, and more.


  • Is your small business facing a specific legal problem? For example, do you have questions about COVID-19 laws and regulations?  Are you planning to negotiate a new commercial lease?  ICLS will work to match you with an experienced business attorney to discuss your specific legal needs and help you create an “attack plan” detailing potential next steps for you to take.


  • Are you more established, but continuing to wonder if things could be (or should be) done differently? For example, have you considered whether your business would benefit from changing its corporate structure?  Or maybe it’s time to consider hiring direct employees instead of using independent contractors (or vice versa)?  It might be time for a business check-up, and ICLS will work to match you with an attorney to discuss potential legal issues that may arise from potential structural changes to your business.

ICLS’s next Small Business Clinic will be held virtually on March 16th, 2022, from 1-4:00 pm.  To apply, please visit (English) or (Español) or call our Intake Team at (888) 245-4257.

Please be advised that the Clinic has eligibility requirements, including a maximum business revenue and asset threshold.  In addition, space is limited, and pre-registration (by no later than Monday, March 14th) is required.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Matt Kugizaki at (951) 320-7516 or

Disclaimer: This material is a legal advertisement and has been prepared for informational purposes only.  Simply registering for, or attending, the Small Business Clinic does not automatically create an attorney-client relationship with the ICLS or any participating attorneys.

ICLS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and receives federal, state, and local county funding.  Funders include the Legal Services Corporation, State Bar of California Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA), State Bar of California Equal Access Funds, San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services and Riverside County Office on Aging.  A full list of current funders is available upon request.  See

About the author:

Matt Kugizaki is an attorney and pro bono coordinator at Inland Counties Legal Services (ICLS).  He manages ICLS’s Small Business Clinic, which provides free legal advice for eligible small business owners in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Prior to joining ICLS, Matt worked as a business litigator advising companies, nonprofits, and executives in a wide range of legal matters impacting core operations of their business or organization.


By rcll

March 04, 2022

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