Time to Protect Small Businesses from Coronavirus Lawsuits

While Democrats and Republicans have failed to come together to pass a much-needed coronavirus stimulus package, there is still an opportunity for our elected officials to support small businesses by passing reasonable liability protections from unfounded coronavirus-related lawsuits. 

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge of class action lawsuits targeting an array of businesses. Given that the coronavirus is so widespread, it would be expensive, and possibly devastating, for small businesses to fight an unfair case in court. Even if they win, fighting a long legal battle could shut down more businesses at a time when many are struggling to stay open. 

This is why Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), together with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), introduced the “Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy Act,” or the SAFE TO WORK Act

They designed this bill to discourage “insubstantial lawsuits” relating to COVID-19 while “preserving the ability of individuals and businesses that have suffered real injury to obtain complete relief.” We should hold negligent businesses accountable, but this bill would establish a reasonable requirement for proof that a plaintiff became infected with COVID-19 due to misconduct. It makes sense to require anyone suing a business to provide evidence that a business acted intentionally or with reckless disregard.

Hopefully, Alabama elected officials like Senator Doug Jones will support the SAFE TO WORK Act, and commonsense liability protections for businesses who have worked hard to stay open while keeping their employees and customers safe.

-Jaclyn Robinson

Owner, Mo’Bay Beignet

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