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That could be the new normal at hair salons, fitness centers and many other venues across the country as businesses grapple with how to balance the health of their customers with their own liability amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Reuters, a wide range of companies are using signs, forms and website notices as a shield against lawsuits. However, experts said the measures do not prevent people from seeking damages due to negligence.
Some of the venues introducing waivers that disavow responsibility for anyone who may contract COVID-19 onsite reportedly include the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, a real estate agency in Arizona, a racecar speedway in Seinsgrove, Pa., and the New York Stock Exchange.
Will gyms and other businesses require customers to sign a waiver in order to enter? (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Everyone from events industry workers, including makeup artists and wedding photographers, are using COVID-19 waivers, according to Paige Marie Griffith, a Montana-based lawyer.
“As essential as we feel, everyone getting their hair done is choosing to do so,” Cody Brooke, who owns 10th Avenue Hair Designs in Pensacola, Florida, told Reuters. “We don’t want the salon or stylist to be held liable knowing that they chose to come in.”
The salon has required clients to sign a form stating they have no COVID-19 symptoms and have not visited a “hot spot” with high infection rates in the last 30 days since reopening in mid-May.
Even some large companies are taking similar steps.
Walt Disney’s website cites “severe illness and death” risks for customers at its Orlando, Fla., amusement parks, which are set to reopen on July 11.
As of Monday afternoon, there were more than 1.7 million infections and at least 104,702 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S.