COVID-19 LIABILITY WAIVERS
The COVID-19 (“COVID”) Pandemic has been a sweeping modern plague that has devastated small businesses, commercial districts, and the lives of people across the world—from health care staffing shortages, the rollout of the Operation Warp Speed vaccines, shutdowns of entire industries, and governmental shutdowns. Through all of this turmoil, you may heard about companies requiring COVID-19 liability waivers. This begs the question, what are COVID-19 liability waivers and how will they impact your business?
Business owners are working to protect themselves and to reassure skittish customers by requiring customers and employees to sign documents stating they will not sue the company if they contract COVID while being on their premises. A document that companies are beginning to use is a COVID Liability Waiver, which is intended to safeguard companies as they cautiously reopen their doors during the ongoing Pandemic.
Currently, there is no national liability protection despite the lobbying for such by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Proponents argue that federal legislation would be preferable over a patchwork of conflicting state laws and the proposal would be to grant businesses with some protection from liability if they adhered to CDC and state guidelines concerning the Coronavirus.
At this time, only a few states (Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Utah) have enacted liability limits through state legislation or executive orders which would establish immunity for businesses from COVID related litigation. California has not yet enacted such legislation and the enforceability of such waivers in California remains an unknown.
Borton Petrini, LLP has experienced attorneys throughout California who can advise and represent persons and businesses on COVID related issues. To find out more, contact the Borton Petrini, LLP office nearest you.
Maurice S. Kane is a Senior Associate in the San Bernardino office of Borton Petrini, LLP. He has over thirty years of legal experience, including in experience in civil litigation, construction defect lawsuits and real estate law.
Legal Disclaimer: Please be informed that legislation and laws are rapidly developing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the legal analysis that is being provided is based on the analysis of the current legislation and current agency guidance, as it stands at this moment. Additional legislation and/or changes to current legislation may impact the information being given herein. This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.