Do Business Owners Have a Legal Obligation to Report COVID Cases? Peter Sachs Clarifies the Procedure

Q. “I’m a yoga teacher in South Florida. I found out that a student who had been in one of my classes came down with COVID-19. The student with COVID told the yoga studio owner, but the owner did not tell me or anyone who was in that class. Was there a legal obligation for the studio owner to share this information with me or the people in the class? I feel like we all should have been told so we would know to get tested.” — Concerned instructor

 

A. There’s no legal requirement. It’s more of a moral responsibility,” said attorney Peter Sachs, a founding partner and chairman emeritus of the law firm Sachs Sax Caplan in Boca Raton.

“The yoga studio owner has an obligation to maintain a safe environment for her customers,” Sachs said. “In my opinion, this responsibility would include an obligation to notify the other students in the class that one of the students (name should remain confidential) they participated in class with had come down with a contagious disease such as COVID-19. The yoga studio owner breached that duty by withholding this information either intentionally or negligently.”

There might have been a legal remedy if the teacher contracted COVID-19 from the student in her class, Sachs said.

“There is no remedy for simply not notifying her,” Sachs said. “Her option without anything else would be to stop doing business with that studio.” 

Questions appeared in the Sun-Sentinel

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