Amid Rise in New Infections, Safety Standards Needed

CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT IMMUNITY

Welcome to the latest edition of “Corporate Accountability, Not Immunity,” a daily tipsheet highlighting key news and important facts on why Congress should not give corporations legal immunity from coronavirus-related harms to workers, consumers, patients and the public. Also refer to our tipsheet on misleading claims from industry groups and conservative lawmakers. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at drosen@citizen.org.

STATES RUSHING TO REOPEN SEE SPIKES IN INFECTIONS: California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and at least seven other states have reported their highest weekly COVID-19 infection-rate averages. Across the U.S., the number of new cases is now approaching the number in late April, when the daily infection rate last peaked. At the same time, many states are reopening stores, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses. Granting businesses legal immunity in this circumstance is a recipe for disaster. Sustainable economic recovery will require public confidence that businesses are operating as safely as possible. Allowing individuals to hold businesses accountable through the courts gives businesses a strong incentive to prioritize safety over profits – an incentive especially needed when the country is seeing an explosion of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.

AIRPORTS BEG FOR NATIONAL SAFETY STANDARDS FOR AIR TRAVEL: Most airports set their own policies for masks. The inconsistent policies have prompted the airline industry to beg government officials to establish national guidelines for air travel. Airports Council International North America President Kevin Burke, whose group represents commercial airports, testified at a hearing Thursday hosted by the U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security. He said: “You can infect as many people without a mask going through an airport as you would getting on an airplane.” Legal immunity for the airline industry and airports will not protect travelers. Safer practices are the key to encouraging people to resume traveling and to enabling them to do so safely.