In a move that is bound to see more similar rulings, a North Carolina judge ruled that COVID does mean a physical loss, a ruling that paves the way for restaurants to seek damages.
In the case, North State Deli LLC et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co. et al, like many before it, the class action lawsuit concerns restaurants that have been forced to close, thanks to the COVID lockdowns in many states. They were seeking damages and lost income resulting from lack of customers. On October 7th, the judge ruled that they could seek damages. Superior Court Judge Orlando F. Hudson Jr. said that the plain definition of the term "direct physical loss" includes an "inability to utilize … something in the real, material or bodily world, resulting from a given cause," and does not need physical alteration to trigger coverage.” In addition, "The use of the conjunction 'or' means — at the very least — that a reasonable insured could understand the terms 'physical loss' and 'physical damage' to have distinct and separate meanings," the judge wrote.
While it is one case, it is however apparent that different jurisdictions will rule differently. As COVID claims begin to pour in, there will be more cases like this that will go for and against the claimants. Monitor similar cases like this to see if it impacts your state.