From the Office of Indiana State Senator, Eric Bassler, District 39:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hoosier businesses and organizations have had to comply with health orders and guidance from the federal, state and local governments.
The vast majority of our businesses and organizations have done a great job maintaining a safe environment throughout the pandemic. In return, the state should protect these entities from lawsuits seeking to make them liable for the spread of COVID-19.
In order to accomplish this, Senate Bill 1 would help businesses, schools, churches, not-for-profit organizations and individuals by giving them immunity from civil liability for damages if someone is exposed to COVID-19 on their property or during an activity they organized. It would also provide protections for manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) if a suit were brought against the PPE product itself.
This legislation would not protect bad actors, as liability protection is specifically denied in cases of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
The immunity provided by SB 1 is set to last through 2024 – long enough to give groups across the state peace of mind about fully reopening, but also giving the General Assembly a chance to revisit the issue in the future if needed.
Providing liability protection is one of the most important things my colleagues and I in the General Assembly can do to help businesses — especially local small businesses — remain open and help people keep their jobs during this pandemic.