Governor Kemp Signs SB 359 Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act Into Law
Miller & Martin PLLC Blog | August 17, 2020
Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 359 into law, commonly known as the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act” (the “Act”). The Act effectively extends and expands the limited immunity protections Governor Kemp originally created in his April 14th and May 12th Executive Orders for employees, staff, and contractors of healthcare institutions and medical facilities performing emergency management activities through July 14, 2021. Under the Act, most businesses, not just healthcare institutions and medical facilities, and their managers, officers, employees, vendors, contractors, and agents are effectively protected from a third-party "COVID-19 liability claim" unless they show “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” A "COVID-19 liability claim" is defined to include, in part, “a cause of action for transmission, infection, exposure, or potential exposure of COVID-19 to a claimant […] on the premises of any entity […] resulting in injury to or death of a claimant.” Additionally, the Act creates “a rebuttable presumption of assumption of the risk by the claimant” when an entity includes specific warning language on any receipt or proof of purchase or posts a sign with specific language (see below) at the premise’s point of entry. Notably, the Act does not modify or supersede Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws and regulations. Please remind your facility managers and workforce to continue following OSHA and CDC guidelines.
Below is the recommended statutory language, which needs to be displayed in at least 10 Arial Font (but we recommend larger), and, away from any other signage, at each point of entry (hopefully there is only one). This same language should be included on receipts or proof of purchases if a retail establishment:
UNDER GEORGIA LAW, THERE IS NO LIABILITY FOR AN INJURY OR DEATH OF AN INDIVIDUAL ENTERING THESE PREMISES
IF SUCH INJURY OR DEATH RESULTS FROM THE INHERENT RISKS OF CONTRACTING COVID-19.
YOU ARE ASSUMING THIS RISK BY ENTERING THESE PREMISES.
O.C.G.A. § 51-16-3