Arkansas Governor Signs In Covid-19 Liability Protection Orders For Businesses
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. As more state economies re-open during the Coronavirus pandemic, there have been growing concerns among business owners and operators about exposure to not just Covid-19 but also to legal liabilities should a customer or employee claim they contracted the illness while at the business. State lawmakers in Arkansas had considered holding a special session to address passing immunity bills however majority support from both house and senate had paved the way for Governor Asa Hutchinson to sign three executive orders yesterday that included Covid-19 related Workers Compensation Coverage, Medical Immunity and Business Liability. Senate President Pro Tem Jim Hendren, R-Gravette explained the focus was to protect businesses and employees as they reopen during the pandemic.
"So many of them had been so battered by loss of customer base, by mandatory shut-downs," Hendren explained. "And now the thought they're going to open up, try to get back on their feet and be hit with lawsuits was hust something that was a real concern to so many that the Senate felt like that it was important that we take action that several other states have done and continue to do."
Although the executive orders provide immunity to healthcare workers, businesses and their employees from civil liability as a result of exposure to COVID-19. Immunity does not apply to willful, reckless or intentional actions such as failure to follow CDC safety guidelines. And COVID-19 will be considered an occupational disease and will be an exception to prohibition for Worker’s Compensation as long as the employee contracted the illness while at work.