Retailers need protection from COVID-19 lawsuits

Jul 16, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

With retailers and other businesses struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing they need is to worry about the possibility of a lawsuit while they are just getting open for business. Washington Retail encourages Congress and our state to adopt liability protections for responsible businesses that follow the mandated safety requirements.

Retailers are often going above-and-beyond the required orders and guidance to protect their employees and their customers. Without customers and employees, retailers can’t function. Employees have a right to be safe when they come to work, and customers have a right to be safe when they go shopping.

Even with all the safety protocols in place, however unlikely, there is a small chance someone could contract the COVID-19 virus at a retail establishment. It is important that the infected individual gets the care that they need. But it’s also important that the retailer that took all the required steps and precautions receive protection from a potentially devastating lawsuit. Retailers can’t guarantee avoiding a virus that has no cure and is easily spread.

COVID-19 will likely be with us for the foreseeable future as we develop a vaccine and other treatments. The state Legislature and Congress should adopt as part of the next CARES package liability protections for responsible businesses that are doing the right thing. Our economic survival is dependent on businesses re-opening, putting people back to work and allowing shoppers to safely make purchases from stores.

Please support needed and responsible liability protections for safe, hard-working and conscientious businesses.