Pennsylvania House Passes Bill to Reopen Businesses
April 15, 2020
By: Michael P. Leahey, Lindsay D. Petrosky, John W. Hays, and Derrick L. Maultsby Jr.
To stop the spread of the COVID 19 virus, Governor Wolf implemented social distancing practices through his Order on March 19, 2020, that prohibited “non-life-sustaining” businesses and cited the powers vested in him under 35 Pa. C.S. § 7301. Social distancing efforts are having a positive effect on the spread of the virus, but they have had a devastating economic impact on many businesses and industries.
On April 14, 2020, the Pennsylvania House modified Senate Bill 613, sponsored by Senator Mensch, that would re-open some of the businesses shut down under the March 19th order if the businesses comply with specific guidelines determined by existing federal guidelines. The Pennsylvania Senate concurred with the House’s changes, and SB 613 is on its way to Governor Wolf’s desk.
Senate Bill 613 Article XXI-C, titled the “COVID-19 Emergency Mitigation Plan For Businesses,” requires the governor to develop and implement a plan that sets forth guidelines that businesses can follow to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The plan will be developed utilizing the current framework provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the advisory memorandum distributed by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Once the plan and the specific guidelines are completed, a company that complies with that plan would be able to operate within the Commonwealth.
Senate Bill 613 could enable businesses such as construction companies, real estate offices, and car dealerships, amongst others to reopen by complying with the guidelines, providing a welcome economic boost.