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Don’t let the April Solar Eclipse cast a shadow on your business

Nationwide offers protection tips for business owners

Millions of Americans will be turning their gaze to the sky on April 8 to view the once in a lifetime solar eclipse.  

Business owners along the path of totality may be looking to capitalize on the celestial event by hosting watch parties and providing eclipse-themed special events. Others may experience operational delays caused by the increase of people on the roads looking for that perfect viewing spot. 

“There are several steps a business owner should be taking to prepare employees, customers and properties for the disruption to help limit the risks and protect themselves from liability,” says Mark McGhiey, Nationwide’s leader of Commercial Lines Loss Control Services.  

“Past eclipses have led to significant disruptions that can turn dangerous for the unprepared, including fuel and food shortages, communication service interruptions, overloaded local emergency services, and traffic congestion,” said McGhiey. “Several business owners found this out the hard way during the 2017 eclipse.” 

Nationwide recommends business owners take the following precautions prior to April 8: 

  • Ensure adequate supplies of raw materials, food, fuel needed for your operation, and workers. Notify suppliers of potential congestion and alter delivery dates if needed. 
  • Inform employees of the potential impact on their work and families to ensure they can take necessary precautions. 
    • Remind them that looking directly at the sun can result in severe eye injury. Viewing should only be done while wearing solar eclipse viewing glasses which meet ISO 12312-2 standards. 
  • Educate drivers about increased hazards – don’t watch while driving, be prepared for parked vehicles along roadways, be alert for pedestrians, unexpected stops and long delays, etc.  
  • Notify customers and ask for flexibility in scheduling service or deliveries after the eclipse date. 
  • Contact local city/county resources, such as law enforcement for guidance regarding safely preventing trespassers from organizing on your property to watch the event, which could bring unintended liabilities. 

“The April 8th eclipse is something we may be talking about for the rest of our lives,” said McGhiey. “Businesses should make sure they do everything they can to not ruin that experience for themselves, their employees or their customers.” 

For more tips on how businesses can prepare for the big event, visit our Eclipse Business Safety resource.