McMaster signs bill to protect businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits

State - Regional

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster looks on during a media briefing on coronavirus response with Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill Thursday that will protect businesses from lawsuits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McMaster signed the bill at Café Strudel in West Columbia, according to the Associated Press. The bill protects businesses from lawsuits as long as the business “reasonably adhered to public health guidelines at the time a coronavirus-related claim arose.”

Businesses and employers keep immunity unless a business caused an injury or damage from “grossly negligent, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct.”

Immunity was granted from March 13, 2020 and expires Dec. 3, 2021 — 180 days after the final State of Emergency, according to the Governor’s Office.

“South Carolina’s businesses and medical professionals stood on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic adapting to ever-changing safety measures to protect their employees, customers, and community,” McMaster said. “As they protected us, it is now time we return the favor and protect them from frivolous lawsuits brought on by COVID-19.”

McMaster called the legislation “common sense” and touted the state’s “pro-business legislation.”

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