Pennsylvania’s job creators have had no shortage of challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the PA Chamber works with our local chamber partners, statewide associations and the business community on our robust “Bringing PA Back” initiative, we’re urging lawmakers to enact policies that will promote reinvestment in the Commonwealth and drive our economic resurgence. Sitting at the top of this important list is securing temporary and targeted liability protections for businesses that are operating during these difficult times.
So far, the only COVID-19 liability protections that the governor put in place have been extended to a small number of medical practitioners – and excludes many who are actively treating patients with the virus. Across industries, businesses are operating every day without critical safe harbor protections in place even though they’ve spent tremendous time, money and resources working to comply with the latest state and CDC-issued health and safety guidelines. The businesses that are still standing through COVID are experiencing significant hurdles just trying to keep their doors open; they don’t need the added concern of being targeted for a frivolous lawsuit by trial lawyers who are looking to cash in on the pandemic. Don’t take our word for it – there have already been several reports of lawsuits filed against businesses, some of which have been filed just for an employee asking a customer to put on a mask in accordance with the Wolf Administration’s orders. And a quick online search or glance at TV will show that plaintiffs’ lawyers are already spending considerable energy and revenue promoting their willingness to target businesses with COVID-related litigation.
As we continue to lead the charge to enact these critical liability protections, we’re stressing to state and federal lawmakers two main points – first, that the reforms should be targeted and temporary to help businesses get through this pandemic; and second, that they only be extended to businesses that are abiding by the state and CDC-issued health guidelines which are helping to prevent further spread of the virus. Most recently, those points have been expressed in coalition letters from local chambers statewide and associations that represent the broad-based business community. In these final days of the 2019-20 session, we’re urging legislators to act without delay on making this much-needed policy reform a reality for struggling businesses across Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.