The Chamber is reminding the public that wearing masks and social distancing are required for employees and customers under Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration. An increasing number of businesses and non-profit organizations have been expressing concerns about enforcing the requirements and confronting customers. A public service announcement was sent to local radio stations and an editorial submitted to the Press Enterprise reinforcing that businesses and organizations are attempting to comply with the order and operate safely.
While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is currently considering the legality of the declaration and corresponding safety requirements, they remain in effect. On Friday, June 26th, the Wolf Administration and a number of state agencies reinforced the mask requirement. Organizations that do not comply risk losing licenses that allow them to operate, as well as insurance coverage, and access to funding programs.
The Chamber is hearing an increasing number of incidents of businesses facing boycotts, threats, and even physical violence to employees from customers who refuse to wear masks. Groups on social media are tracking individual business practices related to the safety. Customers are also getting into altercations with one another over masks. These situations are causing some businesses and non-profit organizations to slow their reopening even more.
For many, these orders and guidance for businesses and individuals throughout the crisis have been confusing, disruptive, and frustrating. And while conditions have been improving locally, the crisis is not over. Pockets of the country are moving back to more restrictive business activities due to increased case counts. Governor Wolf has indicated the same could happen in Pennsylvania if warranted.
The Chamber has been encouraging people to support local businesses throughout the crisis. This includes wearing masks and adhering to other safety guidelines. This simple practice will allow businesses to continue to operate safely and help to restore our local economy.