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Post-COVID Legal Essentials Checklist for Yoga Teachers

Reopening your yoga studio? Cory Sterling from Conscious Counsel provided these 5 legal essentials all yoga professionals need to know before reopening post-COVID:

1. Golden Rule: Learn and follow municipal laws (this will determine negligence or not)

If it has not happened already, there will come a time when your jurisdiction will give you the green light to re-open your studio. Reopening yoga studio is the time to make sure you have reviewed the municipal laws of your particular jurisdiction and have begun to make plans to follow these municipal laws. 

It is important that you strictly adhere to these rules because if you do not, one could easily make a negligence claim against you, exposing you easily to liability. Following the rules is the easiest and most basic way to protect you and your business. In addition to following the rules, what else can you do?

Practical Legal Tip: Post the rules publicly in your studio. Have a zoom call with your staff, record it, and discuss the rules and how everyone has to follow them. Be sure you follow the rules as not doing so will be the biggest mistake you can make in terms of being found negligent.

2. CYB to make sure you are not responsible if someone catches COVID-19 on your premises

While we all wish and hope no one does, there is a chance someone could trace back to having had contracted COVID-19 while at your place of business. To ensure your butt is covered (yes, this is proper legal jargon) you should have a waiver in place that includes the provisions of the additional risk of possibly contracting COVID-19 while participating in activities with you. By doing so, you will have been released of any liability related to COVID-19 related issues that may arise (i.e. your booty is covered).

In the video below, Cory explains the elements of a great waiver:

  • It specifically describes what activities you are doing with someone.
  • It describes the risks of what those activities are.
  • It describes what the outcomes of those risks are.
  • Then someone has to understanding the activities, the risks, and the outcomes of those risks, agree to voluntarily participate.
  • The participant needs to give an affirmation of health that understanding all of the activities and risks, I’m healthy enough to participate.
  • Finally, they have to release you of liability.

Legal Tip: Conscious Counsel team has built a legal package that includes the essential COVID-19 provisions for health, wellness, and fitness businesses. Contact Conscious Counsel today to learn more. 

3. Your Team: Voluntary participation should be in writing

You want to be super clear with your team that anyone who is returning to work (employee or independent contractor) is doing so voluntarily. This ensures that the employee or independent contractor has agreed to voluntarily participate in whatever is happening with you and your business. By returning voluntarily, they also are returning to the studio understanding the risks of working in public. 

The last thing you want as a business owner is to give someone on your team the ammunition to say that they were forced to come into work, or worse that they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace and their participation was involuntary.

4. Re-evaluate your Service/Membership Agreements 

There has been an influx of clients losing money to credit card companies as a result of charge-backs which were made outside the scope of a membership agreement. A lot of Conscious Counsel’s time in the past months has been used to fight for them to not have to pay the charge backs and be able to keep money that is rightly theirs. 

In their hours spent crafting arguments and understanding what a studio membership agreement should have, they realized that most business operators desperately need to update their membership or service agreements to ensure it will serve them in the event of chargebacks or disputes. There is some simple legal language that can go a long way in preparing you against cancellations or terminations made outside the scope of your agreement. 

For example, simply defining your services as being offered BOTH online and in-person means you are always able to provide your services and as such, one is not entitled to a refund on the grounds you cannot offer the services. As well, having a force majeure clause in the agreement can help you greatly when it comes to contesting chargebacks or challenging refunds. 

These are just a few examples of how having the right terms in your agreements can make life so much simpler and easier. Instead of worrying about the law, you can focus on your business and community which is the reason you got into this work. 

5. The best opportunity to have anyone re-sign an agreement is RIGHT NOW

Make sure the language that you have is proactive in dealing with all possible situations and outcomes. The paradigm of how we conduct our business has shifted and our documents must follow suit. 

We think this is the BEST opportunity to make sure everyone you have a relationship within your business has signed an agreement that openly and honestly communicates your expectations. After all…law shouldn’t be scary…it should be FUN! 

Please contact Conscious Counsel and mention beYogi if you are interested in any of our COVID-19 Legal Packages or if you are looking for support (and to enjoy working with lawyers) to operate at best legal practices is this new commercial landscape. 

Watch this video, live seminar, where Cory Sterling from Conscious Counsel explains how yoga professionals can get back to work safely and legally, discussing these 5 essentials for reopening yoga studios