June 18, 2020
Dear Governor Brown, Senators Burdick and Thatcher, and Representatives Doherty and Neron,
The Tigard Chamber of Commerce represents over 300 businesses who are committed to growing business opportunities and providing over 16,000 living-wage jobs for families in our community. We are writing today to express our concerns about potential for lawsuits should an employee or customer contract COVID-19.
Governor Brown’s executive orders have flattened the COVID-19 curve, but the changing regulatory environment also has created immense exposure and uncertainty for our business.
We are worried that even though businesses take steps to follow public health guidelines, they are still at risk of a lawsuit from a customer or employee saying that they didn’t do enough to protect them from exposure. One of these lawsuits would cripple a local business. It’s already tough to keep their doors open in these challenging economic times. Please don’t leave them exposed to unnecessary legal risk.
Businesses need temporary and targeted COVID-19 liability relief to prevent further financial jeopardy as Oregon starts to reopen. Temporary COVID-19 liability protections are not a license for a business to intentionally ignore safety precautions. However, targeted liability protection will ensure that employers who are following best practices and state-issued public health guidelines don’t suffer further economic harm.
Our families and business have been through a lot since the coronavirus took hold. We’re all trying our best and learning as we go – both about this virus and this new world. We ask you to pass temporary and targeted liability protections to shield local businesses from legal risk when they are following state public health guidelines to protect employees and customers from the novel coronavirus.
Thank you for your leadership during these unprecedented times.
CEO, Tigard Chamber