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    COVID-19 Business Reopening Liability Issues

    As states begin to reopen businesses and ease stay at home orders, a new question of liability arises for companies that are open and risking exposure of the coronavirus to customers and employees. Additionally, issues are arising from companies retooling their core business to respond to needs in the time of a pandemic, including PPEs, sanitizer, food and other sundries. 

    Below is a list of links to the most recent reports on what federal and state governments are doing to respond to these issues, ease business fears and protect consumers. 


    Alabama 

    Eight Supplemental State of Emergency proclamation gives liability protections to businesses and health care providers against lawsuits.


    Arkansas

    EO No. 20-33 was created for the purpose of protecting Arkansas businesses from liability related to COVID-19.


    California

    CA A 1035 Exempts a small business with a certain number of employees from liability for an injury or illness to a person due to coronavirus based on a claim that the person contracted coronavirus while at that small business, or due to the actions of that small business. Requires the small business, for this exemption to apply, to have implemented and abided by all applicable state and local health laws, regulations, and protocols. Pending.


    Georgia

    GA S 359 Relates to torts, provides for certain immunities from liability claims regarding coronavirus, provides for definitions, provides for exceptions, provides for assumption of risk presumptions, provides for jury instructions. To Governor.


    Idaho

    HB 529 Provides civil immunity for architects, engineers and contractors during disasters in response to a declared national, state or local emergency, disaster or catastrophic event. Enacted. 


    Louisiana

    SB 435 Provides relative to certain immunity from civil liability during state of emergencies. Enacted.

    SB 491  Limits liability of persons who provide relief or recovery equipment or services during a declared state emergency. Enacted.

    SB 508 Limits liability for restaurants that provide food-to-go during a state declared emergency. Enacted.

    HB 826 Provides limited liability for health care providers, certain real estate owners and certain private persons, firms or corporations during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Enacted.


    Massachusetts

    SB 2630  Provides liability protections for health care workers and facilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pending. 

    SB 2635 Provides liability protections for health care workers and facilities during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Pending. 

    SB 2640 Provides liability protections for health care workers and facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, extends such protections to volunteer organizations. Enacted.

    SB 2700 Provides liability protections for contractors, sub-contractors and unions during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Pending. 

    HB 4659 Provides that certain institutions of higher education offering emergency aid in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 be immune from suit and liability. Pending.

    MA H 4744 Provides liability protections for contractors, sub-contractors and unions during the coronavirus pandemic. Pending.


    Michigan

    SB 899 Provides immunity from civil or criminal liability during a declared emergency for certain health care workers. Pending.


    Mississippi

    MS S 3049 Creates the Mississippi Back to Business Liability Assurance Act, defines duty of care for premises owners, provides liability protection for individuals, state and local government, associations, for profit and nonprofit entities, religious and charitable organizations, provides safe harbor for compliance with public health guidance, provides liability protection for products made, sold, or donated in response to coronavirus and related circumstances. Enacted.


    New York

    SB 8232 Amends the General Business Law, provides restrictions for any company, corporation, association, partnership, limited liability company, individual, business or location that was issued a violation, summons, or complaint for price gouging associated with the novel coronavirus, coronavirus emergency. Pending.

    SB 8351 Provides that no personal liability provision of a commercial lease or other rental agreement involving real property and to which a business impacted by coronavirus is a party as tenant may be enforced against an individual where the default or other event allowing for such enforcement occurs during the coronavirus period. Pending.

    NY S 8587 Declares agreements exempting employers from liability for negligence related to the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic void and unenforceable. Pending.

    NY S 8800 Declares agreements exempting employers from liability for negligence related to the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic void and unenforceable. Pending.


    Ohio

    SB 308 Regards civil liability of service providers in an emergency. Pending. 

    HB 606 Grants civil immunity to a person who provides services for essential businesses and operations for injury, death or loss that was caused by the transmission of COVID-19 during the period of emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-01D, issued on March 9, 2020, and to declare an emergency. Pending. 


    Oklahoma

    SB 300 Creates the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Limited Liability Act. Enacted.

    SB 1946  Establishes immunity from civil liability for persons or entities conducting in the business in the state from actions related to an injury from exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19 if the act or omission alleged to violate a duty of care of the person or agent was in compliance or consistent with federal or state regulations. Enacted.

    SB 1947  Relates to product liability; creates the Coronavirus Product Protection Act. Enacted.


    Pennsylvania  

    HR 872 Encourages food donations, recognizes the importance of liability protections under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and the Donated Food Limited Liability Act during the Coronavirus pandemic. Pending. 


    South Carolina

    SC H 5527 (Joint Resolution) Provides liability protections for a limited time period for health care providers and businesses that follow public health guidance in response to the coronavirus public health emergency, states the purposes of this Joint Resolution to protect against liability for businesses during the coronavirus public health emergency, provides definitions for covered entity, covered individual, coronavirus, coronavirus claim, and public health guidance. Pending.


    Utah

    SB 3007 Provides legal immunity for damages or an injury resulting from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by the person or during an activity managed by the person. Enacted.


    Wisconsin

    AB 1038 Relates to the state government response to the coronavirus pandemic; authorizes limited autopsies for the death of an inmate due to COVID-19; establishes a civil liability exemption for persons who manufacture, distribute or sell emergency medical supplies to respond to the public health emergency. Enacted.