State by State advocacy – August 2020 Northeast Recap

NMMA Advocacy Series

With August 2020 drawing to a close, NMMA is providing its monthly recap of advocacy activity at the state level. First up is the Northeast region, followed by updates from the West, South and Midwest/Great Lakes regions in the days ahead.

Business Liability: As businesses deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, outdated business liability rules have come to the forefront of business protection needs. Many of the states in the Northeast have passed laws to protect healthcare workers from civil liability COVID-19 suits. Currently, active legislation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania would expand these protections to all businesses.

MassachusettsHD5163 would protect all businesses designated as essential in the Governor’s March 23, 2020 COVID-19 Order No. 13 and any subsequent extensions of such order defining essential businesses and services, including the business or organization’s individual employees, owners, directors or agents. This bill has been referred to House Rules Committee.

New JerseyAB4279 would protect manufacturers of PPE, and AB4189/S2502 would provide general immunity for businesses and non-profits. Both sets of bills have not been scheduled in Committee as of the week of August 17th. AB 4190/SB 2522 would protect retailers including bars and restaurants, and the Senate bill has passed the Senate and its first Assembly Committee.

PennsylvaniaHB2639 would protect manufacturers of PPE. SB1194 would protect businesses from COVID-19 suits and limits the time a person has to file a lawsuit. Both bills have been referred to Committees but have not been scheduled for a hearing.

VirginiaHB5019 and HB5037 both protect individuals and those manufacturing PPE from civil liability suits regarding COVID-19.

Travel Restrictions: Beginning in June, the Governors of ConnecticutNew Jersey and New York have required visitors from states in which more than 10 per 100,000 residents tested positive for the virus or more than 10 percent of tests were positive, on a seven-day rolling average. Visitors from those states, which totaled 31 as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as of August 18, must self-quarantine for 14 days and submit a self-identification form. Rhode Island requires visitors to self-quarantine if they travel from any of the 34 states listed here unless they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Travel restrictions began in Massachusetts on August 1, and all travelers including returning residents must complete travel forms prior to arrival, unless visiting from one of the seven lower-risk states and quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in the Commonwealth. Visitors to Maine must self-quarantine for 14 days or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or be a resident of the following exempted states: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to any states with a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher. Anyone traveling from these states should be tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. This public health advisory applies to personal, family or business travel of any kind. To read the full advisory click here.

Boating RegulationsMassachusetts recently released updated COVID-19 related boating regulations. Updated guidelines were released on August 18 they can be found below:

  • Updated recreational boating access guidance can be found here.
  • Charter and for-hire fishing guidance can be found here.
  • Reopening Standards for Recreational Boating Businesses can be found here.

Progressive Insurance Norwalk Boat Show: With COVID-19 cases increasing around the country, widespread reports of inventory supply issues and Connecticut’s travel restrictions impacting residents from more than 30 states, NMMA has canceled this year’s Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show at Norwalk Cove Marina, which was scheduled to be held from September 24-27, 2020. Looking ahead to 2021, the Norwalk Boat Show is scheduled for September 23-26, 2021 at Norwalk Cove Marina.

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