HARRISBURG –State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) is moving forward with legislation to get Pennsylvania working again.
Calling it the “Pennsylvania Healthy Citizens and Healthy Businesses Back to Work Initiative,” the proposal utilizes health and safety guidelines outlined by the Center for Disease Control, and the U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
Mastriano noted that if those strict guidelines and protocol are practiced, his bill would allow operations to resume at businesses that have been forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This legislation will allow all businesses to reopen if they agree to abide by Center for Disease Control mitigation measures to contain the spread of the virus,” explained Mastriano.
“The Governor’s waiver process is flawed, ineffective, lacks accountability, has no oversight, and is riddled with unconstitutional powers,” added Mastriano. “It is not up to Governor Wolf to pick winners and losers, and based upon a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, he’s used the waiver process for political payback. This is unethical and needs to be corrected now.”
Mastriano noted that the state and country are confronted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has necessitated emergency measures to curtail the spread of the virus. He encouraged residents to practice social distancing and health-conscience behavior.
As a result of the pandemic, the Governor recently mandated the closure of all businesses not considered to be “life-sustaining.”
“The closure order impacted tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and puts at stake the economic well-being of our citizens,” said Mastriano, mentioning that single parent families, young couples, non-profits, small businesses and the independently-employed are among the “hardest hit.”
“There is a real and present danger that the cure may in the end be worse than the virus,” said Mastriano, while noting that the “way ahead for Pennsylvania is to offer businesses deemed non-life supporting to resume operations, but under certain conditions.”
As part of Mastriano’s legislation, businesses would be permitted to reopen if managers, owners and staff agree to comply with Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Dept. of Labor coronavirus mitigation precautions. Those measures would remain in place until the state-of-emergency has concluded.
Businesses that comply with those guidelines would not need a waiver to reopen, but must agree to enforce CDC and Labor Department policies during the health crisis. Also, businesses would be responsible for maintaining those standards, and are subject to being examined by an authorized inspector from the Health Department or local law enforcement.
“Timely and full compliance is required to continue operating during the crisis,” said Mastriano, explaining that an “appeals process” will be established at the Labor Department to handle any “disagreements” with the inspector’s findings. Those reports will be filed with the relevant House and Senate committees for review.
“This is a commonsense way to safely get Pennsylvania back to work,” said Mastriano. “I ask my colleagues to join me in this logical and non-political way ahead to defend our state and our people in this trying time.”
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