Letter to South Carolina Federal Delegation Regarding COVID-19 Liability Protections
December 7, 2020
December 7, 2020
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA DELEGATION:
We appreciate your leadership in these unprecedented times. As Congress is considering a Phase IV federal COVID-19 relief bill, we urge you to support a bill that includes liability protections for businesses and pandemic relief for those employees and businesses that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and government stay at home orders.
As the virus still continues to affect businesses and employment around the country, people need help. While we support extending federal unemployment benefits, the amount of benefits, however, should not pit job creators against workers. The additional $600 per week unemployment payment included as part of the CARES Act caused many South Carolina businesses to face “recall resistance” from employees because the extra-large benefit exceeds many individuals’ prior weekly earnings. We respectfully ask you to support a measured approach in the next stimulus package that provides a safety net for individuals but does not incentivize them to stay out of the workforce.
We also urge you to include liability relief that will protect businesses, healthcare providers, and educational institutions against unfair and costly COVID-19 related lawsuits that threaten to derail our state’s economic recovery. Any future pandemic relief bill should provide meaningful protections like those included in Senators Cornyn’s and McConnell’s Safe to Work Act.
Unlike the majority of states, South Carolina has no COVID-19 related liability protections in place at the state level. Bills were introduced in both the SC House and the SC Senate this year that would have provided such protection, but unfortunately, neither bill made it to the floor. In the absence of our state legislature acting on this important issue, we respectfully request that you insist that a liability safe harbor be included in the final relief bill.
Thank you for your work on the behalf of South Carolinians. We look forward to working with you to ensure that South Carolina’s businesses and citizens receive appropriate protection and support so that we can all emerge stronger and ready to thrive following the effects of this pandemic. Your efforts to complete a pandemic relief bill prior to the end of the year will save countless small businesses and families across the Palmetto State.
President and CEO
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce