Event Venues and Related Businesses Risk COVID-19 Infections Among Guests

After the COVID-19 virus appeared in the United States, worried state governments across the country began mandating business closures and other social distancing measures that had the effect of taking "a quarter of the U.S. economy offline."

The economic pressures of COVID-19-related shutdowns had event venues in North Carolina and elsewhere wondering, by mid-March, how they were going to pay their bills. Businesses that rely on weddings and other events, like John Silva's Culinary Eye Catering in San Francisco, lost as much as $680,000 in revenue in the first two weeks of March.

The economic toll has had individuals and businesses across the country demanding to reopen the American economy, even as researchers and policymakers have warned that opening American businesses too early could lead to further COVID-19 outbreaks.

Health officials in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, are worried that recent gatherings in the county have led to virus outbreaks. The county reported that more than 18 people were infected with COVID-19 at weddings, Easter gatherings, and birthday parties held between April 3 and April 17, according to Charlotte's WBTV.

Event Planning Businesses Have Duty To Reasonably Protect Guests From Known Risks

Of course, event venues and event-related businesses have long known how viruses spread among persons. When a person infected with a virus sneezes or coughs, the person expels tiny droplets that land on surfaces near the infected person. When an uninfected person comes into contact with the droplets, the uninfected person can become infected with the virus.

Uninfected persons can become infected by a virus in the following ways:

  • Tiny droplets expelled through sneezing and coughing by an infected person land on the mouth or nose of an uninfected person, leading to infection;
  • An infected person covers his or her mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, transferring the infected droplets onto the infected person's hands;
  • An infected person who has infected droplets upon one's hands shakes hands with an uninfected person, and when the uninfected person later touches one's eyes, nose, or mouth, the uninfected person becomes infected;
  • An uninfected person may engage in social greeting rituals with an infected person, such as kissing on the lips or cheek, or hugging, and may become infected;
  • An infected person touches common items such as doorknobs, railings, shared dishware such as serving spoons or pitchers containing liquid beverages, and transfers infected droplets onto the items;
  • An uninfected person touches one or more of the same common items touched by an infected person, and becomes infected when the person later touches one's mouth, nose, or eyes.

Event venues and event-related businesses should undertake reasonable steps to protect customers and guests from becoming infected with COVID-19. Whether and to what extent a business has endeavored to reasonably protect customers and guests will determine the nature and extent of a business entity's liability if infections are traced to an event.

Coronavirus Injury Lawyers In Charlotte Can Assist With Infection Negligence Claims

Persons who become infected with COVID-19 may face weeks or months of intensive medical treatment. Infected persons may experience fever, body aches, a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, and temporary loss of the senses of taste and smell. Virus symptoms, treatment of the virus, and recovery, can result in permanent injury, extensive out-of-pocket medical costs, and extensive physical pain and emotional suffering.

If a customer or guest at an event has contracted COVID-19 virus as a result of the negligence of an event-related business, the injured person may be entitled to damages for out-of-pocket medical costs, pain and suffering, and any permanent damage or loss of function caused by the infection.

If a business failed to take reasonable steps to protect customers or guests from exposure to COVID-19, a person exposed to the virus as a result of such negligence may be entitled to compensation. The professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can assist persons who may have contracted COVID-19 as a result of attending a local event.

Negligent Failure To Reasonably Protect Against Virus Exposure Can Lead To Claims

If a person has suffered an injury resulting from exposure to COVID-19 at an event, the person may be entitled to reasonable compensation for the injury.

The best thing a person injured by exposure to the virus can do is contact an experienced, local personal injury attorney. The professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can assist injured persons with preparing and filing claims against at-fault entities.

With offices in Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville, North Carolina, Arnold & Smith, PLLC handles personal injury cases across the entire Tar Heel State. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to set up a free initial consultation.

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