Bill that Allows Businesses to Continue to Operate During COVID Pandemic Clears House

You’ve seen these signs:

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Believe it or not, these signs are part of the reason why businesses are able to stay open in Georgia in the middle of this pandemic. The law that outlines the use for these signs protects businesses from being sued if someone is infected with COVID-19 while in the business.

The idea is that business owners, facing a huge risk of liability, would close their doors and put people out of work rather than be sued for someone contracting the virus at their facility. The law allows for the individual to assume the risk and decide for themselves if they want to enter a facility or not.

This is not to say that business owners are completely free of responsibility as the law has exceptions for gross negligence or willfully trying to harm others. You could not hide behind this sign and hope to avoid a lawsuit if you went around coughing on people as an example.

When the law was passed last year the Democrats in the House tried to paint it as a bill to protect big business. Several Democrats tweeted at the time that this was an example of the GOP ignoring the health and welfare of the little guy. But this point of view is myopic at best and ignores the balance being struck between public health and economic health. We cannot afford to ignore one because it will cause destruction in the other.

In a sometimes emotional debate on the floor of the House today HB 112 passed along party lines. The bill simply takes the sunset provision of the existing law and extends it one year to July of 2022.

Democrats often try to paint Republicans as uncaring and coldhearted. But I dare anyone to watch State Representative Kasey Carpenter (R) -Dalton, a small business owner with employees who are counting on him, deliver this 2 minute speech from the well and maintain that position.

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