This past year, exculpatory waivers had their moment in the sun as businesses and educational institutions raced to put waivers in place to protect against claims stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. A Minnesota Court of Appeals decision published this week, Carter Justice v. Marvel, LLC d/b/a Pump It Up Parties, provides clarity and confidence for the Minnesota businesses and educational institutions that utilize waivers for persons under 18. In an issue of first impression, the appellate court held that an exculpatory waiver signed by a parent on behalf of his or her minor child is binding on the child after the child becomes an adult. The court also reinforced the standard for determining whether a waiver is enforceable under Minnesota law and the effect of an overly broad waiver.
This week, the New York State Department of Labor issued the new Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard and model template plan under the NY HERO Act. However, with no current designation for COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease” by the New York State Commissioner of Health, the model plan is more of a playbook for the next outbreak.
Effective June 30, 2021, all public health units in Ontario may move to Step 2 of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen. On June 30, all public health units in Ontario will be subject to the requirements established by O. Reg. 263/20, Rules for Areas in Step 2, as amended by O. Reg. 488/21, along with any other conditions that may apply in specific public health units. Due to a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in certain regions, including the Region of Waterloo, not all public health units will move into Step 2 at this time.
Over the past fifteen months, many countries have introduced creative new approaches to address the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. As employees continue to work remotely and employers reconsider whether employees must return to the workplace at all, some jurisdictions have implemented measures to accommodate the needs and interests of both employers and employees in the ever-changing and evolving employment environment. Luxembourg is an example of a country that has sought to develop solutions with its neighboring nations to ease the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers.
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, OSHA issued its first Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in 38 years, providing long-awaited guidance for health care settings that deal directly with patients suspected or confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. This ETS will remain in effect until a permanent standard is in place or OSHA determines there is no longer a grave danger to the covered workforce.
UPDATE: Cal/OSHA Withdraws June 3, 2021 revised ETS. In a special meeting held on the evening of June 9, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Board met to consider the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health regarding masking. The Board voted unanimously to withdraw the revisions to Cal/OSHA’s revised ETS that they had voted to approve on June 3, 2021, and that were set to go into effect on June 15, 2021 (pending approval from the Office of Administrative Law). In a press release, Cal/OSHA stated that it will review the new mask guidance, bring any recommended revisions to the Board and that the Board could consider new revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as the regular meeting on June 17, 2021. In the meantime, the Cal/OSHA’s ETS adopted in November of 2020 will continue to remain in effect. Faegre Drinker will continue to monitor and provide insights with respect to Cal/OSHA’s revised ETS as well as other COVID-19-related topics. Insights will be updated on the firm’s COVID-19 Resource Center.