The Federal Communications Commission provided narrow relief to certain entities allowing the use of automatic telephone dialing systems to send “informational” communications directly related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak without violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a declaratory ruling on its own motion regarding the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) by certain private entities and government agencies to place “informational” calls and to send “informational” text messages concerning COVID-19-related information.
Specifically, the agency confirmed that certain parties may rely on the "emergency purposes" exception to place calls or send text messages using an ATDS and not risk violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Parties placing calls or sending text messages must be hospitals, or “health care providers,” state or local health officials, or other government officials as well as persons under the express direction of such organizations and “acting on their behalf.” Additionally the content of communications must be “informational,” necessary because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and directly related to the imminent health or safety risk arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Morgan Lewis can assist affected entities as to
Entities and organizations that may consider the implications of this ruling include service providers (cable, telecom, etc.) to business or residential customers, employers (large or small) that may want to communicate with employees or others that use ATDS to originate calls or text messages.
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