WASHINGTON—Congress is in the middle of negotiations for the next COVID-19 stimulus package, and it’s crucial that legislation that protects responsible-acting businesses from frivolous lawsuits is included. Congressional leaders need to hear from businesses who are directly affected, and NACS is urging members of the convenience store industry to use its grassroots portal to contact their elected officials in support of liability relief in the upcoming stimulus package.
Early on in the pandemic, the convenience and fuel retailing industry was designated as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure workforce, and convenience stores across the U.S. have remained open to provide Americans access to fuel, food and other necessities. Retailers have taken substantial measures to protect both guests and employees serving on the front lines from the spread of this contagious virus.
However, despite these best efforts, many are concerned that our industry will be the target of lawsuits alleging that coronavirus was contracted in one of our stores. Litigation costs could devastate businesses that have remained open and have already experienced months of financial stress.
To date, nearly 4,000 legal claims related to COVID-19 have been filed nationwide. Unfortunately, this number will only grow as some individuals look to take advantage of this crisis and target businesses who took necessary precautions simply because they are operating during the pandemic.
This is why Congress needs to hear from you. The Senate is considering legislation titled, “The SAFE TO WORK Act” (S. 4317), which would provide targeted liability protections to businesses, like those in our industry, that have made reasonable efforts to protect individuals from the spread of the coronavirus. This legislation would not protect bad actors, but rather those who have made good faith efforts to comply with federal, state and local guidance.
To take action today, please visit the NACS grassroots portal to send a tweet that tags your members of Congress and asks them to support liability relief in the next package. You can also send a pre-drafted email and tell your senators to cosponsor S. 4317. Our industry has taken extraordinary steps to protect both our employees and guests, and we need protection from unfounded litigation during this crisis.