Georgia law protects churches from COVID-19 liability

To protect businesses, including churches, from claims and lawsuits related to COVID-19, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act, which became effective Aug. 5.

In order for an entity, defined by the bill to include “religious and educational organizations,” to avoid liability, a sign must be posted “at the point of entry” that must read: “Warning: Under Georgia law, there is no liability for an injury or death of an individual entering these premises if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. You are assuming this risk by entering these premises.”

The signage must be written in at least one-inch Arial font, and the warning should stand out from any other text.

This signage makes every person who enters the marked premises assume the risks for the “transmission, infection, exposure, or potential exposure to COVID-19,” Tom Duvall, Georgia Baptist Mission Board general counsel, explained.

The Georgia Baptist Mission Board, however, still advises churches to follow guidelines of the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health relating to COVID‑19. “Even with the protections of this act, a church should always meet the acceptable standard of care for those attending church and church events,” said Mike Griffin, Georgia Baptist public affairs representative.