A bill that would prevent lawsuits against businesses and other groups by people who contract COVID-19 as long as federal and state health guidelines were being followed passed the South Carolina Senate on Thursday.
The bill, which was one of the top priorities of business leaders this session, passed 40-3 on Thursday. It now goes to the House.
More than 15 other states have passed similar laws protecting businesses if they follow all recommended steps to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
The bill does nothing to protect people who don’t follow the rules and put customers or employees in danger, said Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, one of the sponsors.
Opponents of the bill said existing laws could handle the problem and pointed out there is just one lawsuit pending in state court where someone blames a business for their illness.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce said its members wanted this bill to provide some certainty as they reopen and struggle with challenges from the pandemic.
“It will go a long way toward ensuring they can remain operational, keep South Carolinians employed, and make it through these challenging times,” interim Chamber CEO Swati Patel said in a statement.
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