Apr 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Chamber of Commerce worries about liabilities as businesses reopen

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark told Axios during a virtual event Thursday that employers could face massive liability concerns by re-opening their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, calling it "a second economic risk."

Why it matters: Governors nationwide are looking to reopen non-essential businesses following weeks of social distancing that have handicapped the economy. The lifting of restrictions are bringing non-essential workers back out of their homes and increasing their exposure to the coronavirus.

What she's saying: Clark, who leads the world's largest business federation, said that small businesses are not only anxious to reopen, but also anxious about reopening — especially with respect to the litigation risks.

"For example, we're asking CEOs to operate in a totally different, unprecedented time. After years of saying don't discriminate on the basis of health and age, now we're saying protect your vulnerable populations. When we usually say keep health data private, now we're saying you want to make some things public so that we can trace people who have this virus or understand who has immunity.
So when you have a whole new playbook, there are unfortunately a small number of the plaintiffs' bar who really go hard and look for liability. ... And so it scares business owners that there could be a second big economic risk coming."
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