PA Chamber Statement on Biden Administration Vaccination and Testing Mandates

PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s announcement that he is mandating employee vaccination or weekly testing at businesses with 100 or more employees:

“The Pennsylvania Chamber will be examining the full scope of these orders, to evaluate their impact on a private sector that has continued to battle numerous financial, workforce, health and safety challenges resulting from this pandemic.

“Our organization shares questions and concerns about this plan with the rest of the nation’s business community – including whether employers will have access to funding to help pay for expanded testing; how penalties for non-compliance will be enforced; and – perhaps most notably – whether liability protections exist for businesses acting in compliance with the latest round of OSHA standards. The Pennsylvania Chamber has spent the past year and a half advocating for liability protections for employers who have been following state and federal health and safety guidelines, and the ambiguities in these directives further highlight the need to get meaningful liability reforms in place as soon as possible.

“Through our ‘Bringing PA Back’ initiative, the PA Chamber remains committed to providing employers with the updated information and resources they need to keep their workers and customers safe and healthy. We continue to believe that employers can and should be trusted to make public health decisions that are in the best interest of their communities. We urge the Biden administration to offer business owners the clarity and flexibility they deserve as they strive to meet these new expectations while working to keep our struggling economy afloat.”

PA Chamber Applauds House Passage of Targeted COVID-19 Liability Protections

PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement following the state House’s passage of H.B. 605, legislation which includes temporary safe harbor protections for employers from unwarranted COVID-19 related lawsuits.

“As we have repeatedly stated since the early days of the pandemic, targeted liability protections for those entities that are acting in good faith and following state and federal health guidelines are a critical component to the Commonwealth’s economic recovery.  Employers, nonprofits, schools and others continue significant investments to protect their employees and customers and should proceed with confidence knowing they will not be unfairly targeted by a small but unscrupulous group of profiteers seeking to benefit from this health and economic disaster.

“It’s important to note, that House Bill 605 does not provide blanket immunity and bad actors will still be held accountable.  These liability protections are targeted, narrow in scope and temporary – which Pennsylvania businesses desperately need as they struggle to overcome the economic challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on them. We applaud the House for taking action on this necessary legislation and urge quick approval of the bill in the Senate and for Governor Wolf to ultimately sign it into law.”