For Immediate Release
November 18, 2020
HARRISBURG - In light of strengthened masking orders from the Wolf administration that are in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases, PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement calling on the state and federal government to implement targeted COVID-19 liability protections for Pennsylvania’s job creators.
“With COVID cases spiking and the administration issuing stricter mask wearing orders, it’s become a matter of urgency for lawmakers to enact COVID-19 liability protections for businesses. After having spent significant resources to ensure their compliance with state and CDC-issued health and safety guidelines, employers continue to face an ever-growing avalanche of litigation – in many cases, simply because they’re following the mandates put into place by the administration. As we have heard from so many of our members, these concerns place a constant dark cloud over businesses who are already facing numerous financial hurdles while working to operate during this pandemic. That’s why local chambers from across the Commonwealth and associations representing a wide range of constituencies – including advocates for children, nonprofits, the United Way, pediatricians, colleges and universities, school districts and small businesses – have united in calling for limited COVID-19 liability protections. They need the certainty that targeted and temporary safe harbor protections can provide while they work to bring our economy out of this difficult time, and they need it immediately.”
“Case in point - an article in today's Altoona Mirror reported on numerous lawsuits that western Pennsylvania-based grocery chain Giant Eagle is facing due to their requirement that those who enter their facilities wear a mask, per government orders. Make no mistake, plaintiffs’ lawyers are taking advantage of the lack of liability protections in Pennsylvania and it is evident through these repeated attempts to line their pockets. But while they look to make money off of companies who are doing their best to safely provide jobs at a time when our communities desperately need them, the ongoing litigation threat is putting employers at added risk of economic and societal hardships.”
“A recent poll from the Institute for Legal Reform found that 79 percent of Americans from across the political spectrum support liability protections for businesses that are operating in good faith by following state and federal health and safety guidelines. This isn’t a partisan issue – and businesses that do not take the public’s health into account should be prosecuted to every extent of the law. We urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to stand with businesses who are doing their part to help combat the spread of this virus. Targeted liability protections are critical to our economic and public health.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.