Businesses Might Get Protection Extension

State lawmakers have moved to extend protections for businesses from lawsuits over COVID-19.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would give businesses an extra year of protection, until March 31, 2022, from lawsuits from customers or employees who contract COVID-19 if those businesses were “in substantial compliance” with public health orders.

The measure goes next to the Senate, which also was debating a bill to require all of the state’s local school districts to offer in-person classes to all of their students by March 26.

Legislators last year enacted a law to protect health care providers from being sued over medical decisions they made during the pandemic.

They also protected adult care homes that followed state rules and public health directives, and manufacturers that provided personal protective or medical equipment.

The general protection from lawsuits for stores, restaurants, bars and other businesses is due to expire March 31.