Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Signs Bill With Protections From Coronavirus Lawsuits

Date: September 16, 2020

Governor Mike DeWine yesterday signed House Bill 606 into law. House Bill 606  ensures civil immunity to individuals, schools, health care providers, businesses, and other entities from lawsuits arising from exposure, transmission, or contraction of COVID-19, or any mutation of the virus, as long as they were not showing reckless, intentional, or willful misconduct.

It also shields health care providers from liability in tort actions regarding the care and services they provide during this pandemic unless they were acting recklessly or displaying intentional misconduct.

Ohio’s business community has done an outstanding job responding to the current public health crisis and working to keep their employees and customers safe. H.B. 606 protects Ohio’s businesses and employers that are taking all of the steps asked of them to create a safe environment so that we can get more people back to work and grow the economy.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs House Bill 606 during a virtual signing ceremony on September 14, 2020.

“With the signing of House Bill 606 by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, small business owners across the state can feel safer from unmerited COVID-19 lawsuits. We are very grateful to the Governor for knowing how important this legislation is to the small business community. With a recent NFIB survey indicating that 70 percent of Ohio entrepreneurs are fearful of such a lawsuit as they work to recover from the pandemic, Governor DeWine’s signing this important piece of legislation into law, means there is one less thing they need to worry over,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“When House Bill 606 is enacted, businesses will not be liable for claims of exposure, transmission, or contraction for COVID-19 unless they acted with reckless or intentional conduct or willful or wanton intentional misconduct. This law will not only protect Ohio small business owners who are doing everything they possibly can to ensure safe workplaces but will also provide the same necessary protections for local governments, schools, non-profits, and first responders. We truly appreciate the strong leadership shown by Speaker of the House Bob Cupp and Senate President Larry Obhof and for their understanding of how important these protections are for Ohio entrepreneurs in getting it to the Governor’s desk with bipartisan support,” Geiger concluded.

In The Cleveland Plain Dealer, they referenced NFIB’s recent survey that found that 70% of Ohio entrepreneurs in the state are fearful of such a lawsuit.

In The Galion Enquirer, Ohio Senate President said, “Ohio’s small businesses and schools are working hard to reopen, bring back employees, and safely welcome their customers and students. This legislation helps provide the piece of mind they need to reopen as we work together to rebuild Ohio’s economy.”

In July, Lt. Governor Husted announced that Governor DeWine signed onto a letter to Congressional leadership with 20 other fellow governors from across the nation, calling for reasonable limited liability protections for businesses, schools, healthcare workers, and governments as they are reopened during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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