Despite several governors trying to restart their economies, many small businesses will be reluctant to reopen immediately due to the risk of lawsuits over Covid-19.
Cruise lines have already been sued by customers who were either infected by Covid-19 or had issues with their cruise ships’ response to the outbreak, and regardless of the merits of these lawsuits, they may set a precedent for other businesses to be sued, including small businesses unable to cope with litigation.
Unless President Trump and Congress acts to shield small businesses from severe Covid-19 liability, especially when these businesses have no control over a virus that originated in China, there’ll be a eradication of Main Street, USA, that hasn’t been seen since the spread of Wal-Mart in small towns.
Make no mistake, this economic crisis may devolve into the complete destruction of small businesses and the consolidation of large corporations which are better able to weather litigation.
Unfortunately, we’re already starting to see large companies trying to take advantage of this crisis by taking on government loans meant for smaller competition which do not have access to other capital in comparison.
On the other hand, President Trump has already signaled his willingness to shield companies from Covid-19 lawsuits by stating on Tuesday he would sign an executive order shielding meat packing plants from lawsuits so they can remain open, and it’s assumed they will adhere to stricter guidelines in exchange.
The US Chamber of Commerce has likewise approached Congress about shielding small businesses from excessive Covid-19 liability as long as they follow CDC guidelines.
Although, to be frank, these guidelines are strict enough to prevent some businesses from operating normally and may trigger closures regardless.
“Some states are already working on this. The House and Senate in Utah passed a bill last Thursday to protect businesses. It would make business owners ‘immune from civil liability for damages or an injury’ when someone has been exposed to COVID-19 while on the premises doing something associated with the business,” reported Rachel Alexander of The Stream.
Get prepared for what’s coming in the post-pandemic economy!
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