Have you been asked to sign a COVID-19 waiver?

As reopenings continue, many businesses and organizations are looking to protect themselves from legal liabilities. That includes asking people to sign waivers to prevent people from suing them if they contract COVID-19.​​

"Insurance companies didn’t underwrite for this degree of risk," says community association lawyer Todd Sinkins.

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He has been writing waivers for local pools to have residents sign before swimming. While some neighbors have expressed concerns about how broad the waivers are he says this summer there is a shift in responsibilities.

If a community gets sued, its neighbors who could be on the hook.

FILE - A waiter at Raku, an Asian restaurant in Bethesda, wears a protective face mask as serve customers outdoors amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 12, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland.

There’s a big difference, however, between amenities, which you can opt-out of if you’re not comfortable, and necessities, like work or school. ​

Georgetown University Law professor Heidi Li Feldman says some universities nationwide are presenting students and staff with coronavirus liability waivers to attend and teach in-person classes.

She’s afraid it will open the door to schools cutting corners with safety measures. ​

If you feel pressured to sign a waiver for work or school, Feldman recommends adding in writing that you are signing it under duress; as in you’re afraid for your job. If you’re not comfortable with that, write it separately and send it in an email or letter to a loved one. That may help if you ever feel a need to take legal action down the road. ​

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