On March 19, 2020, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued an order directing all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations effective March 19 at 8 p.m. The order provides a process for applying for a waiver, but, due to the high volume of waiver requests, enforcement was delayed until Monday, March 23, 2020, at 8 a.m.
Companies can check this list to see whether they are on the list of life-sustaining businesses, or they can email Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff. Companies that are designated non-life-sustaining, but would like to seek a waiver, can apply via the online waiver application. Reed Smith attorneys are available to help you determine whether your company is designated life-sustaining or not and assist with the waiver process.
Q – What does it mean for my employees that my company is one that must shut down under Governor Wolf’s order?
A – It depends. The order does allow remote work, so if employees can work from home, they are permitted to do so. In the event your company cannot conduct operations remotely and must close, you may need to make some decisions about your workforce, including whether to furlough employees or lay them off. Under Pennsylvania unemployment compensation law, an eligible worker can collect unemployment benefits for a reduction in work, furlough, or layoff.