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Governor DeWine Signs COVID-19 Civil Immunity Legislation

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed House Bill 606 (HB 606) into law. The bill provides employers with legal protections when it comes to their efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 and making Ohio one of a growing number of states granting similar civil immunity.

Under the new law, medical professionals and other providers, including behavioral health providers, will have state immunity from civil actions brought by others “for damages for injury, death, or loss” related to “the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction” of the novel coronavirus.

However, this is not a blanket protection. If it is established that exposure ot ransmission “was by reckless conduct or intentional misconduct or willful or wanton misconduct on the part of the person against whom the action is brought.” Additionally, health care providers remain subject to professional disciplinary action when their actions or omissions constitute gross negligence.

The law further provides that public health orders issued by the executive branch as well as public health orders from local entities do not create any new legal duties. The law is retroactive to the date of the declared state of emergency in Ohio, March 9, 2020, and will expire on September 30, 2021.


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