Alabama Enacts Pandemic Lawsuit Protection for Health Care Entities, Businesses

May 11, 2020

New legal protections are being extended to help shield businesses from “frivolous” lawsuits linked to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Kay Ivey said Friday.

An order issued by Ivey would protect health care facilities and businesses involved with the COVID-19 response from being sued if they’re complying with state guidelines on public health. The legal shield will help ease the effects of the closed economy, the order said.

“I want to do everything within my authority to protect businesses as Alabama’s economy gets up and running again. As we resume operations, the very last thing a business owner needs to worry about is a frivolous lawsuit from responding to COVID-19,” Ivey said in a statement.

Companies that knowingly abuse the public trust can still be held accountable, she said.

Ivey also made it easier for county officials to conduct the runoff election on July 14 by relaxing requirements on hiring and training poll workers; extended a state of emergency in Alabama until early July; and made it easier for rural electrical cooperatives to obtain emergency loans during the pandemic.

More than 9,000 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 371 have died from the illness.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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