PA allows nursing homes, hospitals and businesses to face COVID-19 claims

'We should not be providing protection for noncompliance or carelessness,' Gov. Tom Wolf said

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed a Republican-backed bill Monday that would have made it harder to sue schools, nursing homes and businesses for coronavirus-related claims.

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The Democratic governor cited what he called the legislation's broad liability protections that "invites the potential for carelessness and a disregard for public safety."

It would have essentially protected businesses and other entities that flout government measures intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, Wolf said.

"At a time when the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly, we need to be taking measures to ensure compliance with public health orders and improve safety practices," Wolf said in his veto message. "We should not be providing protection for noncompliance or carelessness."

The bill passed both chambers of the state General Assembly with GOP support and Democratic opposition. The bill applied to cases of exposure to COVID-19 during a governor-declared disaster emergency.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry also supported the bill.

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“It’s really a shame after all the governor has done to stand in the way of small business and devastate our economy he is once again blocking our attempt to do what needs to be done to help our businesses at this time,” state House Republican spokesman Jason Gottesman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.