June 16th, 2020

Senator Deb Fischer
454 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Ben Sasse
107 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
1514 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Congressman Adrian Smith
502 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Congressman Don Bacon
1024 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Members of the Nebraska Delegation:

Thank you for the great work you have done and will continue to do for the people of Nebraska during this time of global crisis. Our members appreciate your leadership on behalf of our state.

As Nebraska businesses bring employees back to work, every industry is faced with an entirely new way of doing business. Many have been doing their best to adjust to the pandemic and continue serving the public by following constantly updated guidelines to keep workplaces safe for employees and the public. Nebraska employers are working hard to serve the public interest and minimize harm to Nebraskans during these uncertain times.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the largest economic and public health crisis in generations. It created a host of potential risk planning and mitigation issues for businesses that seek to bring employees back to work and provide products or services necessary to support our healthcare response. For our economy to get back to business, we need several key clarifications on this front. Employers doing their best to control the spread of this disease with the limited guidance available deserve legal protection. Congress should not allow good actors to be held liable for events beyond their control. Providing businesses with targeted and limited safe harbors during these difficult times is not the same as shielding companies from all liability. Bad actors that operate in reckless or intentional disregard of available guidance on reducing the spread of coronavirus should not be protected from liability. The safety of employees and the general public must come first.

We ask you to support legislation with these measures:

• Provide limited and rational safe harbor protections to employers that comply with federal safety standards and regulations; as well as for damages or an injury resulting from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the business premises. Such protections should not shield employers from claims of gross negligence and reckless or intentional misconduct.

• Provide protection from inappropriate expansion of tort and public nuisance claims through procedural reforms and legislation. Legislation should provide that no civil action may be filed alleging injury resulting from exposure to coronavirus unless the plaintiff experienced a serious physical injury or death.

• Provide employers appropriate guidance and medical form processes related to those employees with COVID-19 symptoms or who have previously tested positive for the virus.

• Provide employers with a safe harbor for collecting and exchanging critical information related to employees’ health status and for implementing reasonable measures such as temperature checks to combat workplace transmission of COVID-19.

• Provide employers and businesses with standards that detail how to protect workers and consumers that are applicable across jurisdictions.

• Provide liability protection for makers of certain products, devices, or equipment designed to protect against, treat, or test for COVID-19. Doing so is important for building the production capacity necessary for key PPE supplies.

• Expand the scope of the PREP Act, designed to address product and volunteer liability issues, to provide protections for companies that may not normally produce PPE critical to serving frontline health care workers and meeting the demand for PPE to protect the public.

We support liability protections that are appropriately tailored and limited to the present emergency and for a reasonable period of recovery. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce
Cozad Area Chamber of Commerce
Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce
Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce
Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
McCook Chamber of Commerce
Nebraska Chamber
Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce
North Platte Chamber of Commerce
Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce
Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber
Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership
Washington County Chamber of Commerce
Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce
West Point Chamber of Commerce