As US President Donald Trump prepares to get back on the campaign trail, he also wants to make sure that he is not held liable if any of his supporters contract the coronavirus at one of his upcoming rallies.
The United States surpassed two million coronavirus infections recently and Trump’s infamous rallies have been put on hold ever since the virus started to spread through the country in February. The president has been itching to get back on the campaign trail, especially given that he’s up for re-election in November.
However, even though he only planned to restart his rallies in early July, the George Floyd inspired anti-police brutality protests throughout the country have provided him with justification to push the events forward, according to CNN.
Now, Trump will be holding his first rally on the presidential campaign trail on June 19th at an indoor venue, the BOK Center, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, in light of the fact that infection rates are rising in some parts of the country, the campaign will now require attendees to RSVP before they enter the venue and sign a waiver saying that they won’t hold the Trump campaign liable and understand the inherent risk of contracting COVID-19.
“By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury,” the disclaimer reads.
Catherine Sharkey, a law professor at New York University School of Law, told CNN that the waiver only provides limited cover against potential lawsuits.
“They only give limited protections, so they never would protect against, for example, gross negligence or recklessness,” Sharkey says.
“One could argue that holding a large public gathering that will draw people together in a context in which they’re not able to do social distancing or follow the directive of the CDC, et cetera… One could argue that is grossly negligent.”
It is unclear, however, what safety precautions will be put in place at the events, with Trump’s campaign just saying “there will be safety precautions” on Thursday. It is also likely that waivers like these may become common throughout America in the post-COVID world.