A top PA Chamber priority – critical COVID-19 liability protections – was passed by the House last week. The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.
An amendment adopted into H.B. 605 provides for targeted and temporary safe harbor protections during the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses and other organizations that are acting in good faith and following state and federal health and safety guidelines. In a memo sent to the House prior to the vote on the amendment, the PA Chamber noted that “employers, nonprofits, schools and others continue to make significant investments to protect their employees and customers and should proceed with confidence knowing they will not be unfairly targeted by a small but unscrupulous group of profiteers seeking to benefit from this health and economic disaster.”
In a statement issued following the House’s final passage of the bill, PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr said, “It’s important to note, that House Bill 605 does not provide blanket immunity and bad actors will still be held accountable. These liability protections are targeted, narrow in scope and temporary – which Pennsylvania businesses desperately need as they struggle to overcome the economic challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on them. We applaud the House for taking action on this necessary legislation and urge quick approval of the bill in the Senate and for Governor Wolf to ultimately sign it into law.”
Similar legislation was approved by the General Assembly last session. Unfortunately, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the legislation, despite support for the bill from over 80 chambers of commerce from across the state and nearly 80 associations representing a wide range of constituencies – including advocates for children, daycare centers, nonprofits, the United Way, the education and medical communities and small businesses.