White House Vows Liability Protections for Businesses Facing Coronavirus Claims

By | April 23, 2020

Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said the administration will look at limiting liability for businesses over the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think liability reforms and safeguards are going to be a very important part of this,” Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, told CNBC in an interview Wednesday morning. “That’s a very important point here — somebody’s got to defend the businesses.”

Trump has indicated the administration is looking to limit liability in cases where workers, or possibly customers, fall ill from the virus. “We have tried to take liability away from these companies,” the president said Monday at a White House news conference. He added that he would seek a legal opinion on the matter but said details of an approach hadn’t yet been discussed.

Businesses Fear Lawsuits from Sick Employees, Patrons After Reopening Whenever U.S. stores, restaurants and theaters reopen from coronavirus shutdowns, they may face an unexpected problem: lawsuits from sick patrons and workers. Learn more. Businesses Press Congress for Immunity When States Lift Coronavirus Lockdowns Businesses want to make sure that they are not held liable for policy decisions by government officials, should employees or customers contract COVID-19 once operations resume. Learn more.

Speaking to CNBC Wednesday, Kudlow described the potential measure as a “guardrail,” particularly aimed at small businesses.

“That is very important here regarding safeguarding, guard-railing liability insurance lawsuits, which I am quite concerned about,” he said. “Businesses, particularly small business that don’t have massive resources, should not be held liable, should not be held to trial lawyers putting on false lawsuits that will probably be thrown out of court.”

Kudlow said there would be constant monitoring of the virus, although Trump has said it’s up to states to take the lead on testing. Governors have repeatedly sounded the alarm that the U.S. continues to face a widespread shortfall of testing and testing supplies.

Photo: Employees clean shopping carts and baskets outside a Whole Foods Market Inc. store in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Some workers at Whole Foods Market stores across the U.S. called in sick on Tuesday, part of a coordinated action to demand more sick pay and protections for grocery store employees working through the coronavirus pandemic.

Topics USA Claims COVID-19

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