Those providing essential services cannot be held liable for damages caused by exposure to COVID-19 while continuing to operate, according to a new order from the Government of BC.
They are protected as long as they are complying with orders from the provincial health officer and other authorities.
For example, a child care provider will not be liable for a child in their care or a family member being exposed to COVID-19, so long as they are following established protocols on how to prevent the spread of the virus, like proper handwashing, regular cleaning and disinfecting and identifying children who are sick.
The order is being introduced because a number of essential service business owners identified challenges with their insurance as a result of the pandemic, BC said.
However, essential service providers who are not compliant with respective authorities or who are grossly negligent will not receive protection under the order and will be held liable for damages.
The order only applies to situations related to COVID-19 and will remain in effect for as long as the state of emergency remains in place.
Additionally, it will continue to protect essential service providers until any relevant limitation periods have expired.