COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act Signed
Governor McMaster signs bill providing protection for businesses, healthcare facilities and state agencies.
Last week Governor Henry McMaster was joined by business leaders and members of the General Assembly for a ceremonial bill signing of the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act. Speaking in support of the bill, Jay Lucas (R) Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives said, “We in government asked business to continue to operate during the pandemic. Government now has to provide business with reasonable protections for having done so.”
According to the Office of the Governor’s Website, “The act provides immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Businesses or employers will retain immunity unless it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the business caused an injury or damage from grossly negligent, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct. A medical provider will retain immunity unless it is proven by a preponderance of evidence that the provider caused an injury or damage from grossly negligent, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct.”
Generally, the bill protects “covered entities” and “covered individuals” from Coronavirus claims if the entity or individual reasonably adhered to public health guidance, such as guidance from South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or another state governmental entity, and federal guidance if referenced by state entities, applicable at the time of the claim at issue.
The Act’s provisions “apply to all civil and administrative causes of action that arise between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021, or  days after the final state of emergency is lifted for COVID-19 in [South Carolina], whichever is later, and that are based upon facts occurring during this time period.”