COLUMBIA, SC – Today, the SC Manufacturers Alliance, the SC Chamber of Commerce, the SC Hospital Association, the SC Medical Association, and the SC Retail Association jointly praised Governor Henry McMaster’s accelerateSC Task Force for including a recommendation that the General Assembly pass temporary and limited immunity legislation to protect all sectors of South Carolina businesses, industries and healthcare providers to help them reopen and rebuild our state’s economy.
Together, these associations represent businesses and healthcare providers of all sizes and specialties, including everything from small businesses and sole practitioners to large manufacturers and hospitals.
The recommendation originally stemmed from accelerateSC’s “Response” subcommittee, which is made up of representatives of various businesses, including SC Manufacturers Alliance President and CEO Sara Hazzard and SC Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts. It specifically states:
“These protections are needed at the state and federal level to cover potential state and federal claims and should be temporary. The United States Congress is considering legislation to protect businesses from liability. Governor McMaster cannot limit liability by Executive Order, and it is incumbent on the General Assembly to take up this issue and consider appropriate legislation.”
The recommendation emphasizes that legislative liability protections should be appropriately tailored and limited to the present COVID-19 emergency and a reasonable period of recovery. It also recognizes that bad actors that do not take reasonable steps to follow official public health guidance should not be immune from liability.
“Immediate action on this issue is necessary.” – accelerateSC Task Force Executive Director James Burns
“Employers must be able to operate with confidence and have certainty that if they act in good faith and implement recommended guidance to protect their employees and customers, then they will not be subject to unnecessary and burdensome lawsuits. We applaud Governor McMaster’s accelerateSC Task Force for their recommendation that the General Assembly provide temporary and limited liability protection for businesses.” SC Manufacturers Alliance President and CEO Sara Hazzard
“If policymakers are really serious about opening our economy back up and allowing South Carolinians to get back to work, they must pass liability reform that protects those following health and safety guidelines from frivolous lawsuits. This issue can’t wait, and we are thankful that the Governor and the accelerateSC Task Force agree.” – SC Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts.
“As hospitals resume normal operations and reopen to the communities they serve to provide critical medical care, we must protect the healthcare community that is working 24/7 to follow the latest guidelines from the CDC, DHEC and other health authorities. We are grateful that accelerateSC recognizes the need to assure that hospitals and clinicians have these protections.” – SC Hospital Association President and CEO Thornton Kirby
“During the pandemic South Carolina physicians have continued to serve the public, providing care to patients for a novel disease and delaying nonurgent surgeries to protect the public and slow the spread of COVID-19. Caring for patients has and is always our physicians’ priority, and we need to remove the burden and stress of future liability claims resulting from caring or denying care due to COVID-19.“ – SC Medical Association General Counsel Richele Taylor
"Many South Carolina retailers, including grocers and pharmacies, remained open throughout this pandemic, providing essential products and services to our citizen. And, we are now seeing retailers that closed their doors beginning to reopen. We applaud Governor McMaster and accelerateSC for their recognition of this vital service to our citizens and for their work to reignite our economy. The recommendation by accelerateSC to provide temporary liability protection will help those retailers who follow appropriate guidelines and do their best to protect their employees and customers." – SC Retail Association Executive Director Rebecca Leach
About the SC Manufacturers Alliance: The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is the only statewide organization dedicated exclusively to the interests of manufacturers. Its mission is to elevate the quality of life for all South Carolinians by advancing the state’s manufacturing industry. The SC Manufacturers Alliance membership is comprised of more than 200 manufacturing companies that represent more than 80,000 associates in South Carolina. You can learn more at www.myscma.com
About the SC Chamber: The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is the State’s Champion for Business, with a vision to make South Carolina the best place in the nation to live, work, and do business. A statewide organization that promotes pro-job and business policies at the state and federal level, it brings together businesses across the state with coordinated strategies, trainings, committees, and events. With a unified voice, we can make the biggest impact. Our member insights shape the policies we write, and the agenda we promote at the State House. You can learn more at www.scchamber.net
About the SC Hospital Association: SCHA is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1921 to serve as the collective voice of South Carolina’s hospital community. Today it represents approximately 100 member hospitals and health systems and 500 personal members working collectively to innovate for positive change, collaborate with partners on common goals, and accelerate ideas to action. Together, we are leading South Carolina to a better state of health.
About the SC Medical Association: The South Carolina Medical Association is the premier organization for South Carolina physicians and encompasses physicians of every specialty and geographic location across the state. For more information, visit www.scmedical.org
About the SC Retail Association: Founded in 2004, the South Carolina Retail Association is a trade organization whose mission is to improve the public image, effectiveness and profitability of the retail industry in the Palmetto state. The retail association represents a variety of merchants in every county, both large and small, including retail entities as diverse as apparel, automotive, boutique, chain restaurant, convenience, department, electronics, grocery, hardware, and pharmacy stores. For more information, visit www.scretail.org.