COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Lawmakers are working hard on getting the state fully reopened, but business owners are worried about any legal issues that can occur from opening to soon.
After closing for weeks in response to COVID-19, there are several jobs who are unsure on what slowly reopening and allowing people back to work is supposed to look like for them.
Tedd Pitts, SC Chamber of Commerce, says “The way you get people back to work is to give employers some certainty.”
On Tuesday, lawmakers met to discuss what that certainty would look like.
“The clarity for business more than anything is give us a clear standard so we know what it is we have to comply with and I think that’s something we can do,” said Representative Tommy Pope.
The Accelerate SC Task Force developed the best practices for businesses to use while reopening and the COVID-19 Liability Protection Committee will now work to clarify those guidelines.
“The safe harbor we want should start at the end of the pandemic and end at the end of the pandemic,” said Sara Hazzard of SC Manufacturers Alliance.
This means that businesses are protected from lawsuits as long as they are adhering to the guidelines set in place. With the safe harbor bill being considered by lawmakers, it would make the guidelines more permanent and put all businesses on the same page.
“That if I do things, follow the rules, I’m not going to get sued, that my attorney will be able to talk to their attorney and say you have no grounds for a suit,” said Pitts.
According to information presented from the meeting, there have been 16 lawsuits that have been filed related to COVID-19 with reasons from wrongful termination, education refunds and insurance disputes.