Broad Coalition Including Local Chamber Urge Enactment of Safe Harbor Protections

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Last week, coalitions of statewide employer and nonprofit associations and local chambers of commerce sent letters to the Pennsylvania General Assembly urging immediate passage of targeted, temporary safe harbor protections from unwarranted lawsuits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce signed on to one of those letters organized by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry. 

Currently, employers and others are vulnerable to COVID-19 related lawsuits that are being increasingly filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys hoping to cash in on the crisis. In some cases, suits are being filed against employers who have been tasked with self-enforcing the mask-wearing policies set by the Wolf administration.

The coalition of business and community groups stressed that employers who are making the investments to follow applicable health and safety guidelines should be able to operate with confidence that they will not be targeted with frivolous legislation; while there should be robust enforcement against those who are acting irresponsibly and not abiding by the guidelines.

The local chamber letter focused on the reality that so many businesses are facing at this time: drained savings, fewer customers, additional costly regulations and other uncertainties arising from COVID-19. “We are grateful for the public support provided to employers thus far; however, the pandemic’s economic impact has been relentless and so must be the public response. We urge you to support temporary, targeted legal safe harbor for those employers and healthcare providers operating in good faith and complying with relevant requirements,” the coalition of chambers wrote.

 A key component of the PA Chamber’s “Bringing PA Back” initiative has been working to enact legislation at the state and federal level that provides the safe harbor protections businesses, nonprofits, medical professionals and others need right now. To that end, the organization has advocated strenuously for elected officials to support liability protections that will help put an end to this unscrupulous pandemic profiteering. The Columbia Montour Chamber has also expressed support for these protections at the state and federal levels.