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A new bipartisan bill passed by an overwhelming majority in North Carolina on July 2, 2020. This legislation provides protection to businesses that develop COVID-19 mitigation plans.
Essentially, businesses that create a plan to mitigate the transmission and unnecessary exposure of COVID-19 are protected from claims that someone contracted COVID-19 based on the property owner or business owner’s negligence.
The protection afforded by this law only applies to claims against the business or owner that arise within six months of the rescission or expiration of the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency. Notably, this act does not apply to Workers’ Compensation claims. The law also does not protect business owners from legal claims based on gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
This liability builds upon the limited immunity already established for certain North Carolina businesses deemed “essential.” There is a previously enacted bill that passed to shield such businesses from suits based on a customer or employee contracting COVID-19 in the ordinary course of business.
The best way to ensure that you qualify for this protection is to make a detailed policy for business operations in writing. Your policy should address protocols for employees and customers to follow in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If you have questions or concerns about how COVID-19 is affecting your business, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced business attorneys.