On April 5, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law SB 1377, which protects covered individuals and businesses from liability for COVID-19 related injuries to customers, students, tenants, volunteers, guests, neighbors, or members of the public, if they acted in “good faith” to protect those people from the pandemic. SB 1377 aligns with the governor’s previously issued “Good Samaritan” Executive Order 2020-63, which expired on March 31, 2021.
A few examples of businesses (“providers”) covered under the law include those who furnish “consumer or business goods or services or entertainment”; property owners, managers, lessors, or lessees; and nonprofit organizations. A “provider” under the new law is presumed to have acted in good faith if it “relied on and reasonably attempted to comply with applicable published guidance relating to the public health pandemic that was issued by a federal or state agency.”
Plaintiffs must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the “provider” failed to act or acted with willful misconduct or gross negligence regarding their COVID-19 (coronavirus) related injuries. This law applies to acts that occur on or after March 11, 2020, and before December 30, 2022, relating to the public health pandemic that is the subject of the governor’s declared state of emergency.
Tips: The new law doesn’t affect the workers’ compensation system. Employees who contract COVID-19 on the job may be entitled to medical care and time loss (wage replacement) benefits through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Contact your workers’ comp carrier for guidance if an employee says they became ill due to workplace exposure to the virus. Stay up-to-date on Arizona’s and the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) guidance for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by reviewing their websites.