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

1 week 1 day 1 hour 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 - The Missouri River is expected to reach moderate flood stage in Jefferson City, Glasgow and Hermann this weekend.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in Weather
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:39:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- A student at the West Location of Tiger Tots Academy has tested positive for COVID-19. According to a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:37:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – During his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Governor Mike Parson announced an extension of the phase one reopening... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:42:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As Boone County moves into the next phase of reopening, hair salons can now open their doors to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:17:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City Manager of Columbia announced plans to further cut city budgets due to the effects of COVID-19.... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:42:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:40:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - While other sports adjust the game plan to respect social distancing, some are just playing things business... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:16:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri-Kansas City says it will begin bringing back faculty, staff and students... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:14:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — During the State of the City address, John Glascock said the city is leaving it up to the... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 1:51:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson will deliver his daily COVID-19 briefing live from the State Capitol in Jefferson City... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:46:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
Editor's note: Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez is a primary care pediatrician, director of pediatric telemedicine and assistant professor of pediatrics at... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:26:23 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - Click below to watch the final candidate forum for the Columbia School Board. All four candidates - Jonathan... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (The Kansas City Star) - Police in suburban Kansas City say a domestic disturbance led to a shooting,... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:47:00 AM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
(CNN) - President Donald Trump is set to announce an executive order against social media companies on Thursday, White House... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:39:26 AM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
(CNN) - Hundreds remained on the streets of Minneapolis late Wednesday night protesting the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:09:08 AM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — An employee at The Bluffs in Columbia tested positive for COVID 19, executive director Donna Bowers announced in... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:33:00 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 >>
2 days ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 Wednesday, May 27, 2020 8:31:00 PM CDT May 27, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 76°
5pm 75°
6pm 73°
7pm 71°
8pm 69°