Texas governor seeks to shield businesses from pandemic-related lawsuits
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News)- As many business owners struggle to make ends meet, some are now facing a wave of lawsuits for opening during the pandemic.
After a “listening session” with business owners at Brooks City Base Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters he wants to work on legislation to protect them from coronavirus liability.
“They have gone above and beyond to open and to operate safely during the course of the pandemic and yet, those same businesses face a threat of potential lawsuits for the fact that they opened up,” said Abbott.
Some businesses with COVID-19 outbreaks are being sued by employees who claim they were infected at work and took the virus home to relatives.
“Texas businesses and employers that have operated in good faith shouldn’t have their livelihoods destroyed by frivolous lawsuits.”
San Antonio and Bexar County leaders have requested more coronavirus vaccines and the governor said Tuesday that he’s asking the federal government for more. Abbott said Texas is not receiving its sufficient per capita allotment of vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer are unable to keep up with the demand , but the governor is optimistic after hearing reports that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could seek emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine soon. A big plus for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it requires only one dose instead of two like the Pfizer and Moderna shots.
“When we do get those vaccines, we believe that the number of vaccines will increase dramatically and we will be able to finish category 1B of the vaccination regiment and then go to category 1C very quickly,” Abbott said.
He explained that the vaccines are not readily available at some of the smaller clinics because of the cold storage requirements. COVID-19 vaccine providers also must use every dose provided. Once a vial is opened, every dose must be administered within a few hours.
The state also is taking steps to make the vaccine more readily available to underserved communities.
“We are forming some mobile units to go into underserved areas to make sure that those underserved areas will be able to receive their share of the vaccines,” Abbott stated.
The number of new coronavirus cases and hospitalized patients dropped Tuesday, but deaths continue to rise. Eighteen additional COVID-19 deaths were reported Tuesday evening, bringing the total since the pandemic began to nearly 2,000.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 821 new cases and the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals dropped to 1,353. Of those, 271 were on ventilators and 404 were in ICU.