As businesses reopen following coronavirus shutdowns, business owners live in fear that they could be sued even if they adhere to safety precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials, according to a report by the Associated Press. This fear has many businesses requiring customers and workers to sign forms saying they won’t sue if they contract COVID-19. These waivers aim to protect businesses in states that don’t have liability limits for coronavirus-related lawsuits and highlight the need for federal protections for businesses following federal and state guidelines.
Harold Kim, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, said federal legislation would be better for businesses rather than a patchwork of conflicting state laws. The legislation sought by the chamber would be temporary and grant protections only if businesses followed CDC and state guidelines on the virus, he said. It would not give businesses immunity if they were grossly negligent.