On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Coronavirus Public Safety and Economic Recovery Act, H.R. 6664. Introduced by Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), the Coronavirus Public Safety and Economic Recovery Act would create a commission to develop guidelines related to COVID-19 health practices, make recommendations to states to improve COVID-19 health practices, develop a program to educate state and local governments and businesses, and create a liability shield for businesses that adhere to the guidelines and recommendations provided by the commission.
As states begin to reopen their economies, businesses looking to pick up the pieces after the significant economic disruptions caused by the reaction to COVID-19 will need a measure of certainty. There will undoubtedly be a wave of lawsuits aimed at businesses in which claims are made that a customer or employee contracted COVID-19. Such lawsuits will be costly for businesses, particularly small businesses, that are trying to get back on their feet.
The Public Safety and Economic Recovery Act would create the COVID-19 Response Commission. The commission will include the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the Director’s designee, who will serve as chair, and at least one representative each for governors, state and local health departments, small business owners, and the President’s Economic Recovery Task Force. The chair may add additional members to the commission. This approach, in which states may provide input, will respect the principles of federalism.
The COVID-19 Response Commission would develop guidelines related to COVID-19 health practices and make recommendations to states to improve COVID-19 health practices. The CDC would be responsible for developing an education program for state and local governments and businesses to minimize the risk to employees, customers, and vulnerable populations of exposure to COVID-19.
The Public Safety and Economic Recovery Act would provide a liability shield for businesses in federal court, provided that the business has followed the national guidance COVID-19 Response Commission or state guidance reviewed by the commission, has received a written notice from an individual about a public health barrier and how it created a risk, and has provided a written response about a plan to address the public health barrier or removal of the public health barrier.
The bill would also require the Judicial Conference of the United States to work with the COVID-19 Response Commission to develop a model program for mediation to avoid litigation.
A liability shield for businesses is one step critical to economic recovery. There may be additional legislative proposals that are introduced that have another take on how to accomplish this goal. FreedomWorks will review each proposal and support those that protect businesses during this unique time in our nation’s history. The Public Safety and Economic Recovery Act provides that level of protection to businesses. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Public Safety and Economic Recovery Act, H.R. 6664.