The Washington Post reports that the problem is not quite solved, because "some administration officials" believe that the idea of immunizing businesses from giving people a deadly disease that everyone agrees they would certainly be spreading would instead transfer those legal liabilities to the federal government itself. Oh, and pushing for it might result in a "political firestorm."
(Oh, and it would obviously increase the U.S. death count, but nobody involved seems to give a flying damn about that part. Late-stage capitalism has more urgent things to worry about.)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, is backing the idea. Its inherent stupidity and reckless disregard for human life would seem to all but assure that anonymous administration critics will be bricked up behind a White House basement wall so that Republicans and Team Trump can get on with implementing it.
There is an obvious flaw with a plan to unilaterally immunize all businesses nationwide from liability if workers or customers die as a result of conditions in their buildings. It removes most, if not all, incentives for those businesses to take precautions to prevent their workers and customers from spreading the disease. Businesses nationwide are installing transparent panels between cashiers and customers to limit airborne transmission. Businesses are at least trying to procure masks for their workers. Many businesses, though not all, are allowing workers to bring in homemade or other masks if they can scrounge them up.
How many of those safety measures will remain in place if the same businesses are told that they are now immune from liability even if they force workers to work with none of those safety allowances? How many "enhanced" daily cleaning routines will remain in place to protect customers if the new edict from on high is that if customers start dying off that is Not Our Problem?
Businesses run by decent folks will no doubt continue to take precautions, but the plain lesson of (gestures at the last two centuries of human history) is that the larger a for-profit venture is, the more willing it is to be gaudily indecent for the sake of an additional three bucks and change. Tell now-shuttered meatpacking plants, for example, that they no longer have any liability for mass infections and deaths in their facilities and they will order their workers back to the lines tomorrow, firing all who do not quickly comply.
This would fit Donald Trump's own needs quite nicely, of course; he is looking to pressure states into reopening so that the pandemic-collapsed economy does not get pinned on him, personally, in the run-up to the November elections. It would be a windfall of massive proportions to retail giants, fast food giants, and every other business reliant on low-wage labor and high customer traffic, relieving them of liability no matter how poor pandemic working conditions in their outlets might be.
It would all work out nicely, until a second wave of deaths—likely topping the current wave—made the costs of the plan clear to the public and led to new furious demands that Dear Leader's bungling acolytes Get Their Damn Shit Together rather than simply writing off the new deaths as the necessary cost of capitalism. That the entirety of Team Trump combined, minus a few anonymous complainers, cannot seem to grasp that a new wave of mass deaths would certainly be worse for the economy than the status quo continues to be ... alarming.