As American companies reopen after weeks of pandemic blockades, many have been posting coronavirus waivers or requiring employees and customers to sign waivers before entering.
From hair salons and recreation centers to stock exchanges and wedding photographers, announcements have sprung up across the country, asking guests to acknowledge that they could get a disease That so far has killed more than 100,000 Americans.
Companies are using signs, forms, and website postings as a shield against lawsuits, but the measures don’t stop people from seeking negligent damages, just as someone might sue after falling on a slippery floor or getting sick from the walls covered in lead paint. experts said.
Lawyers said it would be difficult to prove that a business caused a client’s illness, but the concerns are so intense that an exemption may soon become the new normal.
Entities such as the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, a real estate agency in Arizona, a car racing track in Seinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and the New York Stock Exchange, have introduced exemptions that deny the responsibility of anyone who may contract the disease in the place, as reported by Reuters.
Missoula, Montana-based attorney Paige Marie Griffith created a waiver for COVID-19, the new coronavirus-related respiratory illness, that business owners can purchase and customize online. Event industry workers, including makeup artists and wedding photographers, are using them, he said.
“As essential as we feel, everyone who does their hair chooses to do it,” said Cody Brooke, owner of 10th Avenue Hair Designs in Pensacola, Florida. “We don’t want the salon or the stylist to be responsible knowing they chose to enter.”
Since its reopening on May 11, the salon requires clients to sign a form stating that they have no symptoms of COVID-19 and that they have not visited a “hot spot” with high infection rates in the past 30 days. Releases the classroom from “unintentional exposure” to the virus.
Ryan Reiffert didn’t mind signing a waiver recently for the gym where he practices martial arts near San Antonio, Texas. She had symptoms in March and then learned from antibody tests that had probably contracted the virus.
“But even if I hadn’t,” he said, “I would happily sign the waiver.”
A gym attendant sprayed disinfectant on Reiffer’s hands and feet before he could enter, he said.
Larger companies are taking similar steps.
The Walt Disney Co website cites “serious illness and death” risks for customers at its Orlando, Florida amusement parks, which will reopen July 11.
That warning did not deter crowds that waited for hours to buy Mickey Mouse loot or clothing from well-known brands outside the Disney Springs Mall that reopened on May 20.
A Disney spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
The owner of the New York Intercontinental Exchange Inc and the CME Group Inc commodities exchange also require participants to sign waivers. Floor traders on the exchanges have historically yelled very close to each other, without masks, but that has changed.
“I cannot emphasize enough that we will not be able to guarantee the safety of merchants, employees or other commercial personnel who choose to access the commercial floor,” said CME Chief Executive Terry Duffy. “It will be at risk and will remain so until there is a vaccine or some other cure for this disease.”