Manufacturers, business groups urge liability shield for businesses

Manufacturers, business groups urge liability shield for businesses
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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and nearly 300 other business groups that represent essential industries are urging Congress to shield companies from coronavirus-related lawsuits. 

The groups sent a letter to congressional leadership Monday, calling for the businesses that have been kept open and operational during the coronavirus pandemic to be protected.

“Our member companies are doing their best to serve the public interest, protect our communities and minimize harm to the American people during these uncertain times,” the groups wrote.

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“Yet because they have remained operational during times of remarkable legal uncertainty, they risk becoming the targets of coronavirus-related lawsuits that will ultimately do nothing to reduce the spread of this disease or address the suffering that Americans have endured because of it,” they added.

The business community is pressuring the White House and Congress to include liability protections for essential and nonessential industries in another round of coronavirus relief aid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) has said the GOP-controlled Senate won’t pass a bill providing more assistance to state and local governments, an issue Democrats are pushing, if it doesn’t include legal protections.

The letter touts that businesses that have remained open have worked toward implementing new safety protocols to protect employees. Unions have criticized some companies, saying they were too slow to provide or still haven’t provided protective gear, medical screening and testing for workers. 

“Companies doing their best to control the spread of this disease with the limited guidance available deserve legal protection. Congress should not allow good actors to be held liable for events beyond their control,” the groups wrote.

The letter was signed by the Aerospace Industries Association, American Wood Council, American Cleaning Institute, National Grocers Association, National Fisheries Institute and the Pet Food Institute, among others.