Runion bill would provide limited immunity to businesses related to COVID-19

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Del. Chris Runion is introducing legislation for the upcoming General Assembly special session that would provide limited immunity to businesses related to a civil claim of transmission or exposure to COVID-19.

The bill, HB 5019, which Runion, R-Rockingham, introduced with Del. Carrie Coyner, R-Chesterfield, would also provide limited liability to people that provide personal protective equipment.

“If a person or entity is acting in good faith and takes reasonable steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, then they shouldn’t be held liable in a civil suit.” Runion said. “Information on the virus changes daily if not hourly, we need to encourage common sense and protect those who are simply trying to do the right thing. In the 1940s we had victory gardens; in 2020 we have mask makers. You shouldn’t be sued for performing your patriotic duty in helping with PPE shortages.”

More than 30 states have passed laws or issued executive orders providing limited protection to healthcare providers. Several states have passed premises liability protections, which may be applicable to restaurant or hospitality businesses facing potential liability for COVID-19 exposure.

“It is my hope that Democrats and Republicans can come together on this important piece of legislation so that Virginia’s volunteers, schools, small businesses, churches and other non-profits are not held in constant fear of lawsuit even if they are acting in good faith to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Runion said.

Story by Chris Graham


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