Does Your Church Need a COVID Release Form?

As cities and states begin the “Return to Work” process, it prompts the question: “Does your church need a COVID19 Release Form?

New Uses for a Venerable Risk Management Form.

I have seen recently a variety of COVID19 Release Forms for businesses.  Idaho Realtors® is the publisher of numerous forms for residential real estate transactions.  They just added a form that enables real estate agents to get a signed release of COVID19 claims from anyone who is going to visit a property and might later claim they contracted COVID19 during the visit.

The release language is similar to that used on garden variety releases, such as the ones used at an amusement park.

It might be difficult to prove the exact time and place someone contracted COVID19, but it is easy to file a lawsuit and costly to have it dismissed.  This seems like a wise new use of a basic release form.

Should Churches (and Other Nonprofits) Implement COVID19 Release Forms?

I was speaking with my friend David Ryan of David Ryan Photography earlier this week.  He mentioned that the leaders of the church he attends are considering using a release.

Now might be the time for nonprofits, including churches, to weigh the risks of a lawsuit against the risk of alienating the people the NP was formed to serve.


Vigilance in risk management is a vital component of effective corporate governance.  This is as true for a local church as it is for a multi-state retail business.

What other risk management practices are you seeing that are worth sharing?

Thank you!

Michael Oswald

Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.

© 2020 Michael S. Oswald

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