On August 5, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp signed the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act”, Senate Bill (SB) 359. The Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act limits liability for certain COVID-19 related tort claims.
The Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act generally provides immunity to healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, entities (including businesses, churches and schools), and individuals for certain COVID-19 related tort claims that are not the result of “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” COVID-19 related tort claims covered by the law include certain causes of action based on:
- The “transmission, infection exposure or potential exposure of COVID-19” resulting in injury or death;
- The “manufacturing, labeling, donating, or distributing of personal protective equipment or sanitizer” under certain circumstances;
- The acts or omissions by healthcare facilities or healthcare providers related to healthcare services or medical care for COVID-19; or
- The acts or omissions by healthcare facilities or healthcare providers where COVID-19 interfered with the claimant receiving other healthcare services or medical care.
In addition, a claimant in a COVID-19 related tort claim will generally be presumed to have assumed the risk related to the “transmission, infection exposure or potential exposure of COVID-19” as long as the entity or individual has provided the following warning sign at the entrance to its premises stating:
- Under Georgia law, there is no liability for an injury or death of an individual entering these premises if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. You are assuming this risk by entering these premises.”
The warning must be separate from any other text and in Arial font that is at least one-inch. Similar, but slightly different warnings apply to, (i) admission tickets, and (ii) healthcare facilities and healthcare provider premises. Providing the specified warning will not provide protection from claims for “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.”