Can getting COVID from a business give you the means to sue?

Jaclyn Harold
Created: July 15, 2020 06:50 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Business owners have shared their stance on forcing their clients to wear masks, but if someone were to test positive for COVID-19 after visiting a business that is not complying, is the business responsible?
"We see all sorts of different lawsuits in the judicial system, and so I would never say, no it could never happen, but there would be issues with trying to prove it," said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.
Even with contact tracing, which Ostrem said the county works hard to investigate, proving that a customer got COVID-19 from a specific business, and that the business was not enforcing safety precautions would be difficult.
Another legal expert from Rochester Business Law said he agrees that it would be hard to prove a case like this, but that if proven, it could be considered negligence. 
On Facebook, the community had similar thoughts. Some people said they believe that a customer choosing to go into business with or without mask enforcement should know the risk of contracting COVID. Therefore, the risk lies on the customer and not the establishment.
According to Ostrem, he is not aware of any cases like this, and that's partly due to court delays because of the pandemic.
"Even the process of getting something like that filed would probably take a little while. Civil lawsuits don't need to be filed in the court to get initiated, so there could be something out there that's been started but it's not been filed in the courthouse," said Ostrem.
Though there are currently no known lawsuits against businesses, the potential risk is still there to consider.


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