Coronavirus Government Response Update—Liability Looms Large

May 5, 2020 Coronavirus Government Response Update—Liability Looms Large

Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on fast-moving government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other public policy issues important to the cleaning industry. Today’s update touches on ISSA signing on to a letter urging Congress to not let misguided litigation derail the economy, liability protection looming over the next stimulus package, President Trump’s tariffs, and more.

Liability Protection Looms Over Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package
The next round of coronavirus stimulus relief appears to hinge on liability protections that Republicans say will protect businesses from lawsuits once they reopen if their workers get sick. With the Senate back in session this week, pressure is mounting on congressional lawmakers to approve a new stimulus package to support American consumers and businesses. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has described liability protections as a crucial issue for Republicans. Democrats and labor groups have argued these provisions would erode workers’ rights and possibly encourage premature openings and potentially risky corporate behavior.

ISSA Urges Congress to Not Let Misguided Litigation Derail Economy
ISSA joined other associations representing tens of millions of Americans working in essential industries in writing a letter to urge Congress to ensure that misguided litigation does not derail the nation’s economic recovery. The letter asserts that companies, like those in the cleaning industry, that have continued to operate to serve the public have confronted new and difficult legal questions. Federal and state rules and guidance on how to operate during this COVID-19 crisis have evolved rapidly and at times have created legitimate confusion over even ordinarily simple tasks like cleaning a work site.

Trump’s Tariffs Add to Pandemic-Induced Turmoil
As a deepening economic recession dries up their revenue streams, hundreds of import-dependent large and small businesses are finding it tougher to survive the pandemic due to tariff costs. Despite a “Phase 1” deal, US$370 billion of Chinese goods imported into the United States are still subjected to tariffs of up to 25%. Similarly, 25% tariffs on foreign steel and a 10% duty on aluminum imports remain in place—taxes on American businesses at a time of little revenue.

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