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Businesses, Healthcare Providers Shielded From Certain COVID-Related Lawsuits Under New Law That Takes Effect Monday

Photo: Governor DeSantis Twitter
Photo: Governor DeSantis Twitter

The law will protect businesses and healthcare providers from COVID-related lawsuits as long as they can prove they made good faith efforts to comply with health protocols. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the COVID-19 liability protection bill into law as Florida band Highway 85 played The Beatles' “With a Little Help From My Friends” in the background.

DeSantis says the legislation will give bars and other restaurant venues the assurance they need to host live performers like these.

“You know we want folks to be able to live their lives, provide opportunities for people to do different things. And then let individuals make the decisions about what they want to do. You know you want to go listen to the band go do it. You don’t, that’s fine.”

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Under the law, a plaintiff will now be required to get a doctor to sign an affidavit showing that a COVID-related death or injury is directly linked to a defendant's establishment.

Senate leader Wilton Simpson says this should give business owners the confidence they need to continue operating safely and to keep employees on staff. 

“So when we think about being locked down. We’re talking probably thirty or forty percent of our population were actually locked down. The rest of us were still working everyday. Those businesses that had to be there everyday then, we’re here for today.”

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The law will take effect on Monday. Opponents say it will make it harder for Floridians to seek justice through the courts.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.