Passage of Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act Protects Businesses from Liability Claims

Miller & Martin PLLC Blog | June 30, 2020

The Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 359, the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act” (the “Act”), in the closing hours of the legislative session. 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, businesses and their managers, officers, employees, vendors, contractors, and agents are effectively protected from a "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 at the premise’s point of entry. Notably, the Act does not modify or supersede Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws and regulations.

For assistance in complying with these new legal requirements to ensure liability protection, contact Neil Wilcove or David Dietrichs.

Tags: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Pandemic Business Safety Act, Liability, Georgia General Assembly, Senate Bill 359

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