Temporary Liability Protection During COVID-19

The following message was sent to Congressional Staff expressing PCA’s policy position on Temporary Liability Protections during COVID-19 based on input from PCA retail and manufacturer members. 

As the national discourse shifts toward phased reopening of the economy, the Premium Cigar Association, representing over 3,000 specialty retailers, 30,000+ employees and over 250 manufacturers, requests your leadership in establishing guidance for businesses that will afford temporary limited liability protections related to COVID-19. Such guidance would be an incentive for adhering to best practices for sanitation, hygiene and social distancing — promoting public health and consumer confidence. As an association, we are working steadfastly with our membership to relay health and safety standards set by local, state, and federal agencies on an ongoing basis as it relates to COVID-19. Additionally, we are working to promote our own industry guidance on these important topics related to responsibly opening our places of business.

Employees and consumers need certainty that places of business are not high-risk areas for contracting the virus. And businesses need certainty that they will not face an open-ended threat of liability. Without federal guidance, such certainty will only be established after years of litigation and then re-litigation as researchers learn more about the virus.

It remains unknown how or when the threat of COVID-19 can be mitigated for the long term. Until such time, temporary limited liability protections should be provided for businesses that adhere to best practices set forth in federal guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration. Such guidance would provide the Nation with a baseline standard and could be flexible as researchers continue to learn about the virus and how it is transmitted. We thank you for your leadership and consideration of our views as you work to address the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Scott Pearce
Executive Director
Premium Cigar Association