Senate approves COVID-19 liability protections to shield health care providers, school districts, small business owners, farmers from frivolous lawsuits


HARRISBURG – The Senate passed legislation to provide COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers, small business owners, manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), school districts and colleges, universities and government service providers that adhered to public health recommendations, according Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28), who sponsored legislation to address this issue.

The legislation, House Bill 1737, contains provisions of legislation Sen. Phillips-Hill sponsored that would provide pandemic liability protections if Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health guidelines are followed.

In the memo Sen. Phillips-Hill circulated in June with Senators Lisa Baker (R-20), Pat Stefano (R-32) and Michele Brooks (R-50), they wrote: “It makes sense to protect businesses that have been trying to protect the public.”

In addition to protecting small businesses, the measure will guard schools, health care providers, farmers and manufacturers that produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from facing lawsuits during the COVID-19 pandemic as long as those entities are following CDC guidelines for mitigation efforts.

“Locally owned businesses are struggling to get up and running under the weight of prolonged shutdowns and limitations. Our health care workers are fighting to keep our communities healthy. Our school districts, colleges and universities are providing much-needed instruction for students. The last thing any of these entities need to worry about is being sued despite following all public health guidelines,” Phillips-Hill said.

“Without these much-needed protections in place, taxpayers could be dealt a higher property tax bill, hospitals could go into bankruptcy and small businesses could be shut down for good, despite doing everything they have been asked to do by public health officials,” she added.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association warned that without COVID-19 liability protections in place, school districts could be “financially crippled or shut down.”

The legislation heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

You can watch Senator Phillips-Hill’s remarks here.