Friday, February 05, 2021

Alabama lawmakers fast-track bill to protect businesses from coronavirus-related litigation.

State lawmakers approved a bill (SB30) yesterday that will provide protection for businesses and others from coronavirus-related lawsuits provided they’re taking precautions to protect people.

The Senate passed SB30, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to provide businesses and other entities legal protection against civil liability and certain damages claimed by individuals who allege that they contacted or were exposed to COVID-19 due to an act of a business or healthcare provider.

A similar measure was pushed last spring before the legislature adjourned in the face of the pandemic. Subsequently, Gov. Kay Ivey issued an Emergency Order providing similar protection until the legislation could be enacted — that order is still in effect.

Entities covered under this legislation include businesses, nonprofits, LLCs, health care providers, educational entities, churches, governmental entities, and cultural institutions operating in this state, as well as individuals associated with these groups.

“These entities across our state have been crushed by the effects of the pandemic and are struggling to stay in business, maintain their employees on the payroll, and keep their doors open to continue to serve their communities,” said Senator Orr.

“For our economy to continue to survive and recover, these groups need to know that they will be protected if they are making every effort to follow health and sanitization protocols,” he said. “This legislation does not protect organizations that do not follow the rules. This simply prevents those who did from being taken advantage of in the courts.”

 Similar legislation has been adopted by more than 25 states, including Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

 The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

 ATA thanks Sen. Arthur Orr and Rep. David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook) for sponsoring the legislation.