Several building and contracting associations have joined with a host of other groups across the country to support what is known as the Safe to Work Act. S. 4317 was introduced on July 27 by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, and was referred to the Judiciary Committee. The legislation was introduced as the “Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees to Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy Act,” would regulate COVID-19-related lawsuits, while allowing businesses to obtain “complete relief.” The legislation calls for liability limitations for individuals and businesses, health care providers, and others during the coronavirus public health emergency. One section addresses the “applicability of the targeted liability protections for pandemic and epidemic products and security countermeasures with respect to COVID–19.”
In a letter, the groups urged members of Congress “to support the timely, targeted and temporary liability relief provisions contained in S. 4317. These crucial protections would safeguard healthcare workers, providers and facilities, as well as businesses, non-profit organizations and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is critically needed and should be enacted as soon as possible.” To that end, supporting groups strongly urge for the inclusion of S. 4317 in an additional phase of COVID-19 relief.
“COVID-19-related lawsuits and their consequent exorbitant legal costs could deter entities from reopening and could ultimately cripple businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organizations both large and small,” the letter continues. “Furthermore, absent the proposed liability protections, many frontline healthcare workers and facilities, as well as manufacturers of critical personal protective equipment, would be punished for their efforts in the form of costly lawsuits.”
Associations signing the letter include Associated Builders and Contractors; Associated Builders and Contractors – Greater Tennessee; Associated Builders and Contractors – South Texas Chapter; Associated Builders and Contractors Central California Chapter; Associated Builders and Contractors of New Mexico; Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego; Associated Builders and Contractors of Western PA; Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin; National Association of Manufacturers; National Association of Realtors; National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors; National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association; The Aluminum Association; and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.