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Florida Senate OKs COVID-19 protection extension

florida capitol

With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Florida Senate panel Tuesday approved extending pandemic-related legal protections for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers.

Lawmakers during this spring’s legislative session passed a bill that offered the protections from lawsuits for one year --- a period that is set to expire March 29th, 2022. This proposal would extend that until June 1st, 2023.

Danny Burgess chairs the senate Judiciary Committee.

“As our frontline workers are out there doing God’s work, protecting us and keeping us safe, we just want to make sure they are not looking over their shoulders as they are doing everything they can in an uncertain global pandemic,” said Burgess.

But Stephen Cain with the Florida Justice Association trial-lawyers group, objected to the extension.

“Nursing homes, ALFs, and hospitals should be held accountable for following appropriate infection control policies, Cain said. “This disincentives healthcare providers from doing the things that are necessary to help us end this pandemic.”

The bill is filed for the 2022 legislative session, which kicks off in January.

The Committee vote comes days after news of the emerging omicron variant of the coronavirus refueled concerns about taming the pandemic.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.