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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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.

Minneapolis will ban police chokeholds following George Floyd's death

A memorial for George Floyd at the site of his death in Minneapolis. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Minneapolis has agreed to ban the use of police chokeholds and will require nearby officers to act to stop them in the wake of George Floyd's death, AP reports.

Why it matters: The agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which has launched an investigation into Floyd's death while in police custody, will be enforceable in court.