OK Law Grants Civil Immunity For Businesses To Offer Shelter

Monday, April 14th 2014, 6:49 pm
By: News 9

For about 50 years Love's has been a neighbor to thousands of Oklahomans.

But about four years ago, Love's was more than neighborly and now more businesses are protected to do the same.

"We're glad to be back," said Love's GM Warren Waltz.

As Warren Waltz glows over the additions inside his soon to be brand new travel stop off I-40 and Choctaw road.

"Like I said it's just much larger," said Waltz.

Often times than not.

"You remember it when there's bad weather out there," said Waltz.

He can't help but to recall that darkened day.

"Conditions just continued to deteriorate," said Waltz.

May 10, 2010.

"We had people in wheel chairs, we had dogs, it was wild," said Waltz.

Warren along with 80 employees and customers took shelter in coolers, freezers and restrooms away from the tornado heading straight for his store. The building, demolished, but no one inside faced any serious injuries.

"It was just a matter of protecting the people that were there," said Waltz.

As the re-open date nears, a new law opens the doors for business owners to make decisions like Warren.

Signed by the Governor last week, the law grants civil immunity for nonprofit and for profit organizations. It allows them to grant shelter in emergencies without fear of a lawsuit.

In a statement only to News 9 Governor Fallin stated in part "We want to encourage neighbors to help neighbors... this law protects citizens acting in good faith, and ultimately it may help us to save lives."

Warren's actions may have done just that,.

"It's taking care of fellow Oklahomans and mankind. It's what we've always done," said Waltz.

Governor Fallin also mentioned she was happy to sign the bill so quickly. Only seven days passed for the bill to get from a senate committee to her desk.