COLUMBUS – State Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) and the Ohio House of Representatives yesterday passed House Bill 606, legislation that protects individuals, healthcare professionals, and businesses from unforeseen liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Good Samaritan Expansion Bill gives Ohio businesses and healthcare workers the comfort of knowing they will not face costly and unnecessary civil suits as we continue to reopen our economy,” said Cross. “After facing months of uncertainty, it is vital small businesses are provided with as much stability and clarity as possible.”
The Good Samaritan Expansion Bill ensures civil immunity to the healthcare community, businesses, schools, and individuals from lawsuits arising out of the pandemic. Healthcare providers are immune for the actions, omissions, decisions or compliance with government orders unless it constitutes reckless disregard for life or health of the patient. Businesses, individuals, and families receive immunity for the transmission, contraction, or exposure to SARS, MERS, COVID-19 or any mutation, unless they are reckless, participate in willful and wanton, or intentional misconduct.
The immunity is set to last from March 9, 2020, the date of the emergency declaration, through December 31, 2020.
A variety of organizations submitted their support for the legislation, including the Ohio Healthcare Association, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Association of Civil Justice, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Athletic Trainers Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Ohio Salon Association, Ohio Manufacturers Association, Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, Ohio Dental Association, Ohio Hospital Association, and many others.
The bill received a vote of 83-9 on the House floor. H.B. 606 now awaits further action in the Senate.