Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill providing significant protection to Ohio businesses for COVID-related claims. H.B. 606, passed by the legislature at the beginning of this month, is now law and eliminates civil lawsuits for “damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property” caused by the exposure or transmission of coronavirus. You can read a more detailed breakdown of H.B. 606 in our earlier article here.
The law protects any “person,” which includes individuals, corporations, partnerships, schools and governments, among others, against COVID-19 claims.
Immunity does not apply when a person acts recklessly. Businesses should take all normal precautions to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19, such as cleaning, requiring masks and not allowing ill employees to work. While a plaintiff will not be able to point to a person’s failure to abide by a government order as evidence of recklessness, businesses have a PR incentive to comply with those orders and avoid public scrutiny.
The law goes into effect in 90 days and applies to actions from March 9, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.
For more information on how businesses can safely re-open and comply with relevant local, state and federal guidelines, please contact Rob Gilmore (firstname.lastname@example.org / 216-736-7240) or Alexis Preskar (email@example.com / 614-427-5748) or any of KJK’s Labor & Employment professionals.