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Pennsylvania Amends List Of Life-Sustaining Businesses And Outlines Procedures For Seeking Waivers


After ordering all non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to cease physical operations in a March 18 order, Pennsylvania agreed to delay enforcement of the order until Monday, March 23, at 8 a.m. due to a high volume of waiver requests from businesses and stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth.

List Amended, But More Waivers Sought

When Governor Wolf ordered the closing of non-life sustaining businesses, his administration published a list of businesses organized by industry groups. The list identified which industry groups were considered life sustaining and could continue physical operations and which industry groups were not.

Following publication of the list, many businesses and stakeholders in the Commonwealth sought waivers. In response to those requests, the Commonwealth amended the list on March 20. Under the amendments, several businesses and industry groups that could remain open were added to the life sustaining list.

Notably, they included businesses in the natural resource and mining industry; dry cleaning and laundry services; specialty food stores; insurance carriers and related activities (including insurance agencies and brokerages); and accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services. The changes resulted from input received from businesses, stakeholders, and individuals in an effort to align the list with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory that was released on March 20.

Process For Seeking A Waiver

The Commonwealth will continue to consider waiver requests. Those seeking waivers have been instructed to submit an online application. Applications will be reviewed by a team of professionals at the Department of Community and Economic Development, and responses will be based on balancing public safety with the ability to continue delivering critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified by email if they can resume operations but must remain closed in the interim. For additional information, businesses may direct inquiries to or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH directly and select Option 1. For assistance with this process, contact any member of the Fisher Phillips Essential Business Taskforce.

Fisher Phillips will continue to monitor the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation and provide updates as appropriate. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ Alert System to get the most up-to-date information. For further information, contact your Fisher Phillips attorney, any attorney in our Philadelphia or Pittsburgh offices, or any member of our COVID-19 Taskforce. You can also review our nationwide Comprehensive and Updated FAQs for Employers on the COVID-19 Coronavirus and our FP Resource Center For Employers, maintained by our Taskforce.

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific state law. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.

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