Public Confidence

With respect to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, whether individual fears are knowledge-based or based on misinformation, we must deal with those fears intelligently, respectfully, and compassionately.

Rumors and misinformation abound. Experts are everywhere. What is an expert? There is the dictionary definition: a person who has special skill or knowledge in a particular field. The challenge is to discern the actual expert from the notional ‘expert’.

Irony or hypocrisy? A popular dictum, follow the science, seems to be most often expressed by people who do not follow the science. In the context of alleviating public fears and a business owner’s fear of torts, to follow the science is to subscribe to the scientific method: a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.

Addressing Public Fear

When a business owner or an institution (church, school, etc.) follows the science and communicates the remedial actions that minimize or eliminate risk of infections from airborne pathogens, public fears will be allayed. This is not to suggest scientifically sound remedial actions will dissolve phobias which challenges we leave to the mental health folk.

Addressing the Fears of Property/Business Owners

Liability, lawsuits that bankrupt businesses and institutions.

Question: If you are injured while enjoying a thrill ride in an amusement park, who is liable?

All amusement parks have a duty to exercise reasonable care. This duty can refer to many individual actions and obligations, from performing regular ride inspections to cleaning up spilled drinks promptly. Anything a reasonable and prudent amusement park would do to protect guests from injuries will become part of a park’s duty of care in Texas. It is negligence if a theme park breaches its duty of care to guests, resulting in guest injuries or deaths. A breach of duty could come from the theme park itself or one of its employees.

Dallas Attorney Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., board certified in personal injury trial law

Applicable law: The Texas Administrative code, Title 28, Section 5-9004 Amusement Ride Operation Requirements

The law outlines a protocol, a formal legal code that shields an amusement park operator from liability for personal injury of a guest of the amusement park.

A business that follows the science, implements scientifically-proven measures, through a preventive maintenance program maintains the efficacy of the measures, maintains accountability, and publishes the measures in plain language, can confidently go about daily business worry-free.

The principles embodied within the law governing amusement parks can and should be applied to all other businesses. Naturally, if follows that business associations should lobby the Texas Legislature for laws to limit liabilities, as we have for amusement parks.

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Published by John White

A lifetime (over 50 years) of experiences with automation and control systems ranging from aerospace navigation, radar, and ordinance delivery systems to the world's first robotic drilling machine for the oil patch, to process-control systems, energy management systems and general problem-solving. At present, my focus is on self-funding HVAC retrofit projects and indoor air quality with a view to preventing infections from airborne pathogens.

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