Things to Consider if Reopening Prior to
the Governor's Authorization
Elected officials in several Pennsylvania counties, including Huntingdon County, have indicated plans to deviate from the Governor's businesses shutdown order and expedite the timeline for businesses to resume operations.
The Governor responded to these announcements with threats to withhold federal funding from these counties and revoke licenses or permits from businesses who violate the state order. The Administration also warned that commercial insurance will not cover claims for businesses that resume operations prior to state authorization.
Many employers are tragically facing an existential dilemma of either resuming operations and risking punishment or remaining closed and possibly shuttering forever.
Here are some things to consider if you do plan to reopen prior to the Governor giving authorization to do so.
Whenever a business resumes operations, whether based on state or county direction, they are responsible for the health and safety of their employees and customers and must be prepared to
comply with federal and state workplace safety guidelines
. The PA Chamber's
Bringing PA Back website
includes helpful information for employers in general and industry-specific guidance.
· The Governor's threats to revoke licenses and permits should not be taken lightly – the Commonwealth
administers over 250 types of professional licenses
overing a wide range of industries.
Employers are encouraged to consult with an attorney and understand the ramifications of their decisions.
· Despite the Governor's broad statement regarding insurance, it's likely coverage and consideration of claims will be fact-specific and vary based on policy
. Employers are encouraged to contact their insurance carrier and inquire whether operating under these circumstances could jeopardize coverage.
While the Governor's business shutdown order is being challenged in court, his authority has been upheld up to this point.
State Police plan to enforce the Governor's orders
is the process if a business is reported for non-compliance/violation provided by the office of Representative Rich Irvin.