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The coronavirus has dramatically affected life in Iowa, across the country and around the world.  Before the pandemic hit Iowa, the state was experiencing the best economy ever.  Wages were rising, unemployment was well below three percent, and more job openings existed than unemployed Iowans looking for work.  The pandemic changed all that success. 

A key priority for Senate Republicans in this abbreviated end of the 2020 legislative session is to implement policies to help the Iowa economy recover to where it was before the state shut down to protect public health.  A centerpiece of that agenda is protecting businesses, schools, cities, and churches from a potential wave of lawsuits from someone who possibly could have contracted the coronavirus at that location.  These lawsuits could be devastating for struggling businesses and remain a big deterrent for many looking to get back to work and reopen again.  

Guidance from the public health experts changes on a regular basis as they learn more about the virus and try to provide the best information to the public.  It is difficult to track every recommendation and even more challenging to implement each new and shifting guidance.  I was the floor manager for Senate File 2338 (SF 2338) which protects employers, non-profits, and any other entity opening their doors to the public from a lawsuit from someone claiming to contract the coronavirus on at their facility.  It requires those entities to put forth a good faith effort to implement public health recommendations and requirements.  Bad actors that act recklessly or intentionally can be held liable. 

Job creators need the confidence to know that if they reopen their operation in a good faith effort to protect public health, they will be protected.  Uncertainty is a danger to every business and SF 2338 provides certainty for them on the issue of coronavirus lawsuits.  Many restaurants, coffee shops, and barbershops in this state have been wounded by the coronavirus and the last thing they need right now is to be killed off by a frivolous lawsuit. 

Author: Zach Whiting