What the Coronavirus Pandemic Meant for Dry Cleaners & Laundromats

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, virtually everyone found their lives disrupted in one way or another. Lots of people suddenly found themselves facing major changes, such as working from home or needing to help their children learn from home. Those kinds of big changes caused people to make many other smaller-scale changes to their lives, such as the types of clothes they wear. 

Under California’s shelter-in-place order, dry cleaners and laundry services were considered essential services and were allowed to remain open. However, that didn’t stop many businesses in the laundry industry from facing significant losses because of the pandemic. While some laundry businesses have seen a minimal decline in business, others just weren’t getting enough business to be able to stay open. 

COVID-19 Business Losses for the Laundry Industry

Dry cleaners are just one type of business that sees a great deal of business from people attending special events. Unfortunately, the timing of the pandemic and the related shutdowns came at a bad time for businesses that are linked to the event industry. Spring is traditionally a very busy season for these types of businesses, thanks to people attending things like proms, graduations, and weddings. But with all of those events either being cancelled, postponed indefinitely, or turned into virtual events, people weren’t bringing their suits and dresses in for cleaning. 

Not only are special events on hold for the time being, the fact that so many people have been working from home means dry cleaners also lost out on business from people bringing their work clothes in. When offices and other businesses closed down, people traded their suits, blazers, and blouses for more casual styles. If people are interviewing for new jobs during this time, virtual and phone interviews mean that they may feel less pressure to bring their best interview outfits in to be cleaned ahead of time.

Dry cleaners don’t only make money by cleaning clothes. Very often, they also offer alteration services that help people look their best. However, altering clothes involves meeting with customers in person and the tailor coming in close contact with customers while they take precise measurements.

Some dry cleaners were able to keep some degree of business going by making fabric face masks, cleaning uniforms for first responders, or by finding ways to offer contactless options for customers to have their clothes cleaned. But with the large number of people out of work because of the pandemic and a desire to avoid unnecessary contact, many people who may have decided to hold off on bringing in any clothes they had been meaning to drop off to be cleaned. 

Laundromats and other laundry services have often fared better since everyday clothing still needs to be cleaned. However, with people spending so much time at home, many are putting those trips to the laundromat off for as long as possible. Some laundromats located near college campuses have also seen a loss of business from students who returned home after campuses closed down and may continue to see losses as students stick to online classes instead of returning to campus. 

Business Interruption Insurance & the Laundry Industry

No matter what type of industry a business is in, there might come a time when they need to temporarily close their doors for reasons beyond their control. Perhaps a power outage makes it impossible to continue operations or a storm or fire causes damage that makes the building unsafe. Regardless of the reasons behind a temporary closure, they can place a serious financial strain on a business.

To be prepared for these sorts of situations, many business owners protect themselves by buying business insurance policies that include business interruption coverage or civil authority coverage. These types of insurance coverage are both specifically intended to cover monetary losses that might come up during a temporary closure. For example, they help business owners handle expenses like employee payroll, utility bills, and rent/mortgage payments. If a business needs to move to a new location to be able to resume operations, they can also help with relocation expenses. In the case of civil authority insurance, coverage applies if a business is forced to close due to a government order. 

Unfortunately, with the large number of businesses being forced to close because of the pandemic, insurers are being very quick to deny claims for these types of benefits. One argument they’re often trying to use is that COVID-19 is not a type of physical property damage that is covered by these types of insurance.

Help With Business Interruption Claims

If you’ve made a claim for business interruption insurance benefits and been denied, it’s not the end of the line. Don’t let them have the final word. By working with a lawyer, you’ll have someone on your side who understands the insurance industry and knows how to fight back against the arguments they’ll try to use. If you’re still in the process of getting ready to make a claim, a lawyer can help make sure your claim is handled properly from the very beginning.

The Wallace Firm is currently working with California business owners to help them with their business interruption insurance claims. And there’s no need to worry about having to deal with any upfront fees or costs. We’re handling these cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we succeed in helping you get the benefits you need. Contact us today for help with your claim.