On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, Governor McMaster signed into law the COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act. South Carolina became the 23rd state to pass similar legislation and many others are considering it. We have previously discussed on our webinars the importance of this bill and this is welcome news for South Carolina businesses.
The law provides liability protection against claims that a person contracted COVID-19 from your business provided that the business reasonably adheres to applicable public health guidance at that time. The law would not shield a company from liability if the person can show that the business acted grossly negligent, recklessly, willfully, or intentionally. The law applies to claims between March 13, 2020 and June 30, 2021, or 180 days after the final state of emergency is lifted for COVID-19 in South Carolina, whichever is later.
This law reinforces the need for businesses to continue to adhere closely to public health guidance from DHEC and the CDC. Employers should monitor and update their policies accordingly and stay vigilant on measures such as social distancing, mask requirements, and other restrictions. In doing so, businesses will be able to take full advantage of this law’s protections.