Contingency Planning for Swine Flu H1N1 Virus Pandemic
I have always been a pontificator of contingency and emergency response planning. When disaster strikes, what measures do you have ready to mitigate the circumstances? Some business managers tend to hang their hat on business interruption insurance and don't worry too much about it beyond that. But if the Swine Flu H1N1 Virus causes your company to have a large portion of your employees out sick, or a government stay at home quarantine is instituted and everyone stays home, what will you do then? Don't look to your business interruption insurance, because it only responds to a covered cause of loss on your property insurance form, and this is not one of them.
This is a situation where you are on your own, so having a contingency plan is your only hope. Can employees access the company network at home? Are there critical functions that would cease in absence of manpower? Are there any crime related exposures that would be exacerbated by unmanned facilities? The questions are numerous. You know your business model better than anybody, so you will need to apply the "what if" rule to your business and determine the potential ramifications.
One further note - on April 28th, the Massachusetts senate voted 36-0 to pass a bill to send to the House that grants the public health commissioner the power to institute virus containment procedures throughout the state should an emergency be declared. These powers will be quite extensive, such as the right to enter a premises to determine the presence of an H1N1 virus infection, shut down access to or from any facility, and restrict or prohibit assemblages of persons.
So if you're asking if they can do that, the answer is that they probably will be able to shortly...