Arkansas governor gives businesses virus lawsuit protections

Arkansas
FILE - In this March 23, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks in Little Rock Ark. Gov. Hutchinson is resisting issuing a broad stay-at-home order to curb the coronavirus outbreak, even as the state's cases continue to increase. Health officials on Thursday, March 2, 2020, said the number of coronavirus cases in the state had risen to at least 643, with two additional deaths. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP File)

By ANDREW DeMILLO

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor has granted health care providers and businesses protections against coronavirus lawsuits as the number of people testing positive and hospitalized with COVID-19 continue to climb. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday signed executive orders granting immunity to businesses and providers who don’t engage in willful or reckless conduct during the pandemic. The Republican governor also signed another order assuring workers’ compensation coverage for employees infected with the virus because of their job. The orders follow a push by Republican lawmakers who had called on the governor to convene a special session to take up the protections.