The Florida Chamber of Commerce said Monday that more than 100 local chambers of commerce have joined it to form a coalition in support of the COVID-19 liability protection bills.
The Legislature has fast-tracked legislation that would shield businesses and health care providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19.
There are separate proposals for health care facilities (PCB HHS 21-01/SB 74) and non-health care businesses (HB 7/SB 72), but they all have the same thrust — businesses that put in a “good faith effort” to protect customers from catching the coronavirus would be immune from liability.
The Florida Chamber and other pro-business groups say the protections are necessary for Florida’s economy to continue recovering amid the pandemic.
“At the onset of the pandemic, the Florida Chamber started having conversations with our members across Florida, lawmakers, and the Executive branch about the need to support liability protections for Florida businesses that are working hard to reopen safely while following public health protocols and guidelines,” Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson said.
“It’s promising to see the business community unite for Florida’s job creators as we rebound Florida’s economy and grow from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th largest by 2030. With a current bottom-5 legal climate, the last thing Florida and its employers need is a tsunami of frivolous COVID lawsuits that will consume time, money and resources that would be better spent on creating more jobs, safety and investing back in the business.”
The Florida Chamber cited a recent poll showing that the protections also have broad support among Florida voters.
The poll, conducted by Cherry Communications on behalf of the Chamber, found 74% of respondents favor passing liability protections for Florida businesses.
Support rises to 78% when the same protections are extended to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.