Coalitions Urge Congress to Enact COVID-19 Liability Protections

As Congress works toward agreement on a second round of COVID-19 relief to Americans, coalitions of more than 80 chambers of commerce, including The Columbia Montour Chamber, and more than 75 statewide associations across the Commonwealth sent letters to Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation last week urging them to adopt temporary, targeted liability reforms as part of the disaster relief legislation. The coalitions are being led by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry.

The chamber and association leaders cited the financial struggles that so many of their member businesses are facing. “Pennsylvanians who had successful companies just a few months ago are going bankrupt, draining savings, seeing their life’s work swept away,” the chamber coalition wrote.

As they are experiencing these pandemic-driven hardships, they are also facing the added threat of an unwarranted pandemic-related lawsuit – in some cases, these cases are being filed for businesses simply following the mask mandates put in place by the Wolf administration. The PA Chamber, local chamber partners, and our allies on this issue — including nonprofits, schools and universities, daycare centers, medical providers and more – have stressed the negative impact to our economic recovery if businesses that are following all the state and CDC-issued health guidelines must continue to operate without any pandemic-era protections in place.

“For the foreseeable future, employers will be subject to strict workplace health requirements and those who take necessary precautions to protect customers and employees should proceed with confidence knowing they will not be targeted with frivolous, and potentially devastating, litigation,” the coalitions wrote.

“We are grateful for the public support provided to employers thus far; however, the pandemic’s economic impact has been relentless and so must be the public response.  We urge you to support temporary, targeted legal safe harbor for those employers and healthcare providers operating in good faith and complying with relevant requirements.”