Please see below regarding the Governor’s order from our Government Relations and Labor & Employment Groups. Do not hesitate to contact anyone at McNees with questions, including how this order might apply to your job site, project approvals or your office. McNees is a full service law firm that remains operational, remotely and in compliance with the Governor’s order. We are ready and able to continue to support our clients’ needs during this trying time.
UPDATE: Latest on Gov. Wolf’s Closure Order amid COVID-19 Outbreak
As detailed in a special edition of Capitol Buzz sent on Thursday evening, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all “non-life-sustaining” businesses throughout Pennsylvania to physically close their operations in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The new directive, which went into effect at 8 p.m. on Thursday evening, contains the threat of enforcement action against businesses that do not comply with the order by 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, including fines, license suspensions and potential forfeiture of current or new state funding.
The governor’s abrupt action on Thursday evening faced severe criticism from Republican members of the state’s General Assembly. In a statement released late Thursday evening, Senate Republican leaders said they believe that all businesses are life-sustaining to someone, whether it be employers or employees. They called the governor’s action a “unilateral decision” that will severely impact Pennsylvania businesses, especially small businesses, who are and will continue to face significant economic challenges ahead due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
House Republican leaders also admonished the governor’s announcement Thursday night, saying the governor “set off a panic” with an ill-prepared and hasty decision that will immediately impact every worker in the state and have major, long-term economic ramifications. House Republicans also said they will examine the order in more detail and determine whether the governor’s actions are allowed within the state’s Constitution.
With his closure order, Gov. Wolf provided a breakdown of those businesses that may remain open and those that must close. However, the administration, through the Department of Community and Economic Development, will begin reviewing waiver requests from businesses looking for exemptions to the closure mandate. The department will also be available to answer questions from businesses on whether they will need to close.
It is unclear how long the closure order will remain in effect, and what actions legislative leaders might take to provide relief to businesses throughout the Commonwealth affected by the order. But in the meantime, DCED has set up email resources for businesses to utilize regarding the new mandated closure.
- Any business that would like to seek a waiver from this order can email RAfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- Any business unsure on whether they should close they can contact the administration at email@example.com.
In addition, for those businesses seeking guidance or assistance on how to proceed during this unprecedented time, please contact the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group.
The situation surrounding COVID-19, and its impacts on Pennsylvania citizens and businesses, is changing by the hour. Capitol Buzz will do its best to keep our readers as up-to-date as possible as to the state and federal government’s actions relating to the virus.