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Dear New Jersey Congressional Delegation Members,

As the leaders of the Garden State’s major business associations, we believe the health, welfare and safety of New Jersey residents and the American people are the No. 1 priority during this unprecedented public health crisis. We are committed to doing our part to help “flatten the curve,” support our members, and provide important information that our elected officials need to respond to this emergency.

On behalf of the millions of New Jersey residents that our members collectively employ, who have all been impacted by the necessity to close or limit business operations, we write to you urging support of businesses and workers in our state by passing targeted, common sense liability reforms to protect against abuses of the legal system that would punish employers who are good actors and working tirelessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our essential employers in New Jersey have done their best to contribute the products and supplies necessary to serve the public amid a cloud of unclear and shifting rules and requirements placed on essential businesses. Under tough circumstances, our employers have risen to the moment to ensure our state’s continued functioning during this difficult time in our history.

That is why we are asking you to support their economic recovery by providing businesses in New Jersey with limited and rational protections against lawsuits that threaten to shut down or put out of business the industries that have contributed so much in our struggle against the coronavirus. Companies that act in good faith to protect employees and customers and follow available guidelines should not be exposed to unlimited liability and costly legal fees for trying to do the right thing. If Congress does not act to protect businesses from needless lawsuits for a pandemic beyond anyone’s control, we fear that the recovery will be significantly slowed or may never happen.

Experts are all still trying to understand the coronavirus, how it is transmitted and how best to protect the population.  The advice given from the CDC and other authorities have changed over time and will continue to be modified as more knowledge is gained.  In all likelihood, we will not know all the answers until we are well past the threat, if even then.  Against this backdrop, businesses are doing the best they can to comply with applicable guidance and employ the most effective measures for their particular industries.  As we begin to reopen our economy, businesses should not be threatened with potential liability for failure to protect persons against a worldwide pandemic, especially after they have acted in good faith based on the best available knowledge.

Providing businesses with targeted and limited liability protections, such as safe harbors, is not the same thing as shielding companies from liability for bad acts. We do not seek any reforms that would protect businesses that operate in reckless or intentional disregard of available guidance on reducing the spread of COVID-19.  However, the plaintiff’s bar should not be allowed to take advantage of this worldwide crisis by exploiting the worst public health emergency of our lifetimes.

On behalf of all employers in New Jersey, we urge you to provide our businesses with the certainty that they can continue to lean wholly into the fight against COVID-19 and our coming economic recovery without having to fear those efforts being undone by potential liability and exorbitant legal fees.

Thank you for your consideration and continued support of New Jersey residents during this unprecedented health crisis. If you have questions, please contact Chrissy Buteas, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer, at cbuteas@njbia.org or 908-447-3466.

Sincerely,

African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Inc.

American Camp Association NY/NJ

American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey

American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey

Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce

Bernards Township Regional Chamber of Commerce

BioNJ

Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bus Association of New Jersey

Cape May County Chamber of Commerce

Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey

Chemistry Council of New Jersey

Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

CrossState Credit Union Association

Early Childhood Education Advocates

Employers Association of NJ

Fuel Merchants Association of NJ

Garden State Pharmacy Owners, Inc.

Global Business Alliance

Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce

Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce

Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce

Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce

HealthCare Institute of New Jersey

Health Care Association of New Jersey

Hoboken Chamber of Commerce

Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey

Home Health Services Association of New Jersey

Hudson County Chamber of Commerce

Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce

Insurance Council of New Jersey

Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce

Marine Trades Association of New Jersey

Meadowlands Chamber

Medical Society of New Jersey

Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce

Monmouth-Ocean Development Council

Morris County Chamber of Commerce

NAIOP – NJ

National Federation of Independent Business

New Jersey Apartment Association

New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies

New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons

New Jersey Bankers Association

New Jersey Builders Association

New Jersey Business & Industry Association

New Jersey Campground Owners and Outdoor Lodging Association

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

New Jersey Child Care Association

New Jersey Civil Justice Institute

New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers

New Jersey Concrete and Aggregate Association

New Jersey Council of County Colleges

New Jersey Dental Association

New Jersey Food Council

New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association

New Jersey Hotel and Lodging Industry Association

New Jersey Independent Electrical Contractors Association

New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce

New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc.

New Jersey Motor Truck Association

New Jersey Pharmacists Association

New Jersey Podiatric Medical Society

New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association

New Jersey Salon and Spa Coalition

New Jersey Self Insurers Association

New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants

New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association

New Jersey Tech Council

New Jersey Tourism Industry Association

New Jersey Utilities Association

New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce

New Jersey Warehousemen & Movers Association

New York Shipping Association, Inc.

Newark Regional Business Partnership

North Jersey Jewish Business Alliance

Ocean City Chamber of Commerce

Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce

Professional Insurance Agents of NJ

Salem County Chamber of Commerce

State Pharmacy Owners, Inc.

Somerset County Business Partnership

Southern NJ Development Council

Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce

Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey

Sussex County Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association

Union Township Chamber of Commerce

Utility & Transportation Contractors Association

Cc:       Governor Phil Murphy

            New Jersey Legislature

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