This is a vulnerable and stressful time for local businesses. COVID-19 has created a fluid situation and the community is dealing with a lot of unknowns and uncertainty. While we do not know when we will get back to our normal way of life and business, one of the keys to getting the economy restarted is properly protecting businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19 claims.
As we move forward with reopening Ohio, there are many fears and risks with the liability exposure that businesses face as they move to reopen. These fears and risks could further cripple the economic recovery. While significant economic support has been provided to businesses, civil liability protection is now the next step of necessary support.
The Ohio House and Senate returned to Columbus earlier this month to pass legislation to address liability protections for employers as they re-open. Under Ohio House Bill 606, all Ohio employers are granted qualified immunity from lawsuits alleging their action or inaction exposed someone to COVID-19. This immunity exists from the date of the governor’s state of emergency order – March 9, 2020 – and ends on Sept. 30, 2021, so Ohio businesses will have immunity from these types of lawsuits for up to an 18-month period. In addition to this general immunity coverage, Ohio’s health care providers will also have legal protections against litigation arising from care delivered in response to the coronavirus.
We hope this measure provides some peace of mind that your business will not be faced with an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits. We are your local, trusted resource and will continue to proactively advocate for relief and communicate important issues or decisions that impact your risk management and insurance coverages. If you have any questions, please contact an insurance advisor at Evarts Tremaine today.