COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House is sending a bill preventing people with COVID-19 from suing businesses and other groups to the governor's desk.

The proposal protects businesses as long as they follow guidelines to protect people from the virus. Dozens of other states have passed similar measures.

Opponents of the bill have said existing laws could handle the problem, pointing out earlier this year there was just one lawsuit pending in state court where someone blames a business for their illness.

But the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and other business groups said the bill protects companies and others as they try to bounce back from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to sign the bill. He sent a letter to the House on Monday saying the state’s businesses “should not be placed at future risk for following the recommended safety protocols which allowed them to operate and employ people during the pandemic.”

The House passed the bill 89-18 on Thursday. The Senate approved it 40-3 in February.