Chamber urges lawmakers to protect businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits

5 days 5 hours 19 minutes ago Friday, May 22 2020 May 22, 2020 Friday, May 22, 2020 3:29:00 PM CDT May 22, 2020 in News
By: Daniel Perreault, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA- The Missouri Chamber of Commerce is urging Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session to take up legislation that would protect businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits.

The chamber is worried about liability in the scenario where someone believes they contracted the COVID-19 virus while on the premise of a business.

"As we're starting to see the state reopen, as of May 4 businesses are reopening, some are not reopening though because of the fear of these COVID lawsuits," Vice President of Governmental Affairs Matt Panik said. "We want to make sure they have some protection so that they can open up, so they can bring workers back on the payroll and contribute to to the economy and the recovery"

In a letter to the governor on Wednesday, the Chamber of Commerce urged the governor to bring state lawmakers back to deal with the "emerging problem in Missouri."

Panik said it is about protecting the companies that are taking the necessary precautions to keep staff and customers safe. The efforts are not intended to help businesses that don't follow healthy and safety recommendations.

But even for businesses that do follow the guidelines, Panik said the lawsuits still pose a significant risk. After the last few months, many small and medium size businesses may not be in a position to withstand an expensive lawsuit.

"There are literally businesses that are not reopening because they are looking at the revenue hit they've taken already," he said. "With the decrease in revenue they are expecting for the rest of the year, the costs to conform with some of these guidelines and the prospect of expensive lawsuits, the math just doesn't add up."

At Smockingbird's Unique Gifts and Accessories in Fulton, Virginia McCoskrie is preparing to reopen her store on June 2nd. 

"The store is my baby and I missed it a lot," she said. "It was hard just closing the doors one day and leaving."

For the past few weeks, McCoskrie has been doing online and curbside pickup orders but is waiting to reopen until next month out of an abundance of caution.

"We don't have testing in Fulton or Callaway County so we really don't know how many people actually have had the virus or are asymptomatic," she said. "I want to make sure my customers, my employees and I are safe."

McCoskrie is encouraging customers to wear masks and use hand sanitizer to keep them safe. She has also installed a sneeze guard at the cash register and is adding in signs and markings on the floor to promote social distancing.

McCoskie is not particularly worried about the risk of lawsuits, but said she is aware of the risk. She attended a Zoom class about legal issues stemming from COVID-19 put on by the Chamber of Commerce.

"It is something to be aware of but I feel like I'm taking the proper precautions," she said. "I don't want anyone to get sick after coming to my store, so that's why I'm providing hand sanitizer and masks and encouraging social distance." 

During his daily media briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Parson was asked about the letter from the Chamber. He said any special session would have to include multiple issues, but did not rule anything out.

"It's quite apparent we're going to have to deal with the legal challenges going on with COVID-19," the governor said. "We're not going to let attorneys go out here and sue everybody because they were doing their jobs."

The regular state legislative session ended on Friday, May 15. State lawmakers have said they would not be surprised if they returned to the Capitol at some point this summer to deal with budget or COVID-19 related issues.

On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers have said they believe similar protections need to be included in any future stimulus packages passed by Congress. If it is, Panik said he would still like to see similar protections enacted under Missouri law.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — An employee at The Bluffs in Columbia tested positive for COVID 19, executive director Donna Bowers announced in... More >>
14 minutes ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:33:14 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
US— The fraught, freighted number of this particular American moment is a round one brimming with zeroes: 100,000. A hundred... More >>
16 minutes ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:31:26 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia will not be collecting residential recycling curbside the week of May 25 after Columbia/Boone... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
FULTON - Three people were arrested on drug charges after a narcotics search occurred at 1504 Monroe Street in Fulton.... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:31:16 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - At his daily COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri has so far been exceeding... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 4:06:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The City of Boonville relies heavily on their summer tourism season with attractions like the Katy Trail, Isle... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:57:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —Americans are finally sending their own up to space again. When SpaceX's postponed rocket launch finally lifts off on... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:45:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Two 16-year-olds are being held on arson charges in connection to a May 11 fire at the Flanders... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - An employee at the Forum Boulevard location of Schnucks has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a company... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 1:59:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The launch of a SpaceX rocket ship with two NASA astronauts on a history-making flight... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:02:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 6:57:00 AM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The messy weather pattern we’ve been in is about to head east and we’ll be left with cooler... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:57:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in Weather
LAKE OF THE OZARKS —After videos of a crowded Lake of the Ozarks bar went viral over Memorial Day weekend,... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:45:58 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - With schools closed and after school programs cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has gotten creative... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:37:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY — Deputies from the Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested an 18-year-old from Tebbetts on Monday. Just after... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:03:11 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Some elementary and middle schools in Jefferson City will be holding drive-through celebrations for students. ... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:49:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —A formal plea of not guilty in the murder of Mengqi Ji was filed on behalf of Joseph... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:22:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
9pm 66°
10pm 66°
11pm 68°
12am 67°