By Melissa S. Doolan, Esq.

Governor Ducey signed SB1377 into law on April 5, 2021. A.RS. §12-515 bars any civil liability for a person and business that “acts in good faith” from lawsuits related to COVID-19, unless the suing party proves by “clear and convincing evidence” that the person or business failed to act or acted with willful misconduct or gross negligence. The new law provides a person or business with the presumption of acting in good faith, if the person or business “adopted and implemented” reasonable policies related to COVID-19. This law is retroactive to March 11, 2020 and applies to all non-profit corporations, which nearly all community associations are.

Further, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (“ADHS”) continue to issuance guidance for businesses to operate. The CDC and ADHS recommend that businesses require individuals to continue to wear masks in areas of substantial or high transmission due to the highly contagious Delta variant, practice physical distancing, frequent handwashing for employees and guests, symptom screening prior to entering a business, and posting signs of these guidelines.

Many associations have reopened their facilities and resumed activities. To protect an association from civil liability relating to a COVID-19 lawsuit, an association’s board of directors should adopt rules to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These board adopted rules should be published to the member and posted in conspicuous locations at facilities. Adopting and implementing a policy that follows the guidelines of the CDC and ADHS provides an association with the presumption of acting in good faith to defend any potential lawsuit, as provided in A.R.S. §12-515.

The information provided herein is for reference purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended as legal advice. For specific questions or legal issues regarding your association, please contact us at 480-219-3633.