On August 6, 2020, Governor Kemp signed the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act” (the “Act”). The Act substantially limits tort claims against “healthcare facilities and providers, entities and individuals” in Georgia unless the entity or individual showed gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.

Except for these categories of actions, any action involving a COVID-19 liability claim against an individual or entity, the Act provides a rebuttable presumption that the person entering the premises assumed the risk of transmission, infection, exposure or potential exposure.

To take advantage of this presumption, however, a statutory warning must be posted at a point of entry or printed on a receipt or proof of purchase for entry.

For signs posted at point of entry, the Act requires the font to be in at least one-inch Arial font, and posted separately from other text. The required language reads:

Under Georgia law, there is no liability for an injury or death of an individual entering these premises if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. You are assuming this risk by entering these premises.

The language to be included in a receipt or proof of purchase for entry must be printed in at least ten-point Arial font, and placed separately from other text. This required language reads:

Any person entering the premises waives all civil liability against this premises owner and operator for any injuries caused by the inherent risk associated with contracting COVID-19 at public gatherings, except for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm, by the individual or entity of the premises.

In addition to posting the required statutory warning, employers should continue to follow guidance from the CDC, OSHA, and the EEOC, and continue to comply with all current Executive Orders issued by Governor Kemp. Finally, employers should remain mindful of employees with underlying health conditions who may require a reasonable accommodation or who are otherwise considered high risk to contract the virus.

If you have additional questions about the Act, or about navigating the workplace and protecting your business and workers during these unchartered times, please reach out to lcfreeman@atclawfirm.com