Thinking about ignoring your state or local COVID-19 shutdown orders? Think again. Social-distance measures may create a new source of liability for businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Infection-based litigation is normally limited to businesses operating in the healthcare sector. But, social-distancing measures to stop the spread of infection may expand that litigation to other sectors.
State and local governments across the country are taking extraordinary measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that can cause life-threatening respiratory illness. Those measures encourage and even mandate “social distance” between people to limit physical transmission of the virus.
Hard-hit states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California have been aggressive in their responses, shuttering businesses, confining people to their homes, and requiring people to stay six feet apart. Common mandates include: quarantines, business and school closures, stay-home orders, curfews, travel restrictions, occupancy limits and physical-distance mandates, among other things.
Reprinted courtesy of White and Williams attorneys Robert Devine, James Burger and Douglas Weck
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