May 20, 2020
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The undersigned chambers of commerce urge Congress to pass timely, temporary and targeted liability relief legislation to provide businesses a safe harbor from unwarranted lawsuits that, left unchecked, will endanger the fight against the pandemic and undermine the safe and orderly return to work for millions of Americans.
From distillers who switched to producing hand sanitizers, to manufacturers that transformed their operations to construct personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, to front line medical professionals treating the afflicted, to pharmaceutical companies that are expediting research into cures, American businesses have rallied to fight the pandemic. During the stay-at-home orders, essential businesses have remained open and innovated in ways that permitted them to continue to provide critical services and supplies. Now millions of other businesses are in the process of reopening, desiring to do so in a safe manner that protects their employees and customers.
This is an unprecedented situation and despite employers’ best efforts to comply with public health guidance, many are concerned that they will be forced to defend themselves against a wave of lawsuits. Their concern is driven by the fact that each day brings news of more lawsuits that have already been filed. That is why Congress should provide a safe harbor that holds truly bad actors accountable, but that protects those employers who are working to follow public health guidance. Specifically, temporary protections should remain in place for the duration of the pandemic crisis and response that cover:
• Businesses that work to follow government guidelines against COVID-19 exposure claims.
• Healthcare providers and facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
• Manufacturers that repurposed production and distribution to provide PPE, sanitizers, and other needed countermeasures.
• Companies that have donated their stock of supplies to hospitals and medical professionals.
• Public companies that could face securities lawsuits, including those driven largely on stock price drops resulting from the global pandemic under the spurious assertion that management failed to warn investors.
To ensure that we continue to wage war against the pandemic while also safely returning Americans to work, Congress must act without delay.
Business Council of Alabama
Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA
California Chamber of Commerce
Colorado Chamber of Commerce
Connecticut Business & Industry Association
DC Chamber of Commerce
Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
Florida Chamber of Commerce
Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii
Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry
Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Indiana Chamber of Commerce
Iowa Association of Business and Industry
Kansas Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
Maine State Chamber of Commerce
Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Associated Industries of Massachusetts
Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Mississippi Economic Council
Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Montana Chamber of Commerce
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce
Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
New Mexico Association of Commerce & Industry
The Business Council of New York State
North Carolina Chamber
Greater North Dakota Chamber
Ohio Chamber of Commerce
State Chamber of Oklahoma
Oregon Business and Industry
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Texas Association of Business
Salt Lake Chamber
Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Association of Washington Business
West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce