Back to News

How Governments Could Affect Your Business During Coronavirus Outbreak

Published on

March 10, 2020

Now that coronavirus has officially made its appearance in Pennsylvania, the potential that the government may mandate closures of schools and businesses and impose quarantines looms large.

Businesses and other non-governmental entities can always decide voluntarily to close temporarily or otherwise curtail operations to protect their employees and customers. Nonetheless, governmental bodies, especially at the state and local levels, have broad powers to impose closures or restrict movement to combat epidemics. This authority is commonly referred to as “police powers.”

Under Pennsylvania law, the governor can declare a disaster emergency through executive order or proclamation upon finding that a disaster has either occurred or the threat of such is imminent. The governor has the ability to:

  • Direct and compel evacuation
  • Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives and combustibles
  • Regulate movement inside the affected area

Although we have typically seen these powers exerted in regard to natural disasters – such as the common restriction of travel on major highways during a major snow event – epidemics also fall within the emergency provisions.

Last week Gov. Tom Wolf enacted the Emergency Disaster Declaration, which provided increased support to state agencies involved in the response to the virus. This declaration authorized the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director to assume command and control of all statewide emergency operations and authorize and direct that all commonwealth departments and agencies use all available resources and personnel necessary to cope with the emergency situation. With an emergency declared, it will likely fall to local officials to determine what local schools and businesses should be doing in response. The federal government generally relies on state and local governments to implement quarantines and other restrictions.

Employers should stay informed, and follow the advice of federal, state and local health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains an updated web page on the coronavirus, with helpful guidance and resources for employers. Employers should be planning now how to weather either voluntary closures or closures and quarantines that may be mandated by the government. Attorneys across Barley Snyder’s various practice groups are well-positioned and prepared to assist clients in crafting strategies to prepare for the coronavirus.

If you have any questions on how your business should prepare for government-ordered shutdowns, please contact Martin Siegel

More on the legalities of Coronavirus:

EMPLOYMENTCoronavirus and Workplace Preparedness

BUSINESSIs COVID-19 a “Force Majeure” Event?

SENIOR LIVINGCoronavirus and Senior Living Facilities

EDUCATIONSchools Already Planning for Coronavirus

BUSINESSPlanning for Coronavirus: A Necessary Business Exercise

Related News

View More News
Press Release
January 23, 2023

Barley Snyder Adds Attorney Jacob Kiessling in Harrisburg

For Immediate Release Harrisburg, Pa. – Barley Snyder is pleased to ...

Learn More
News Alert
January 20, 2023

Court Restores More Union-Friendly Election Rules

In a decision issued earlier this week, the District of Columbia Circuit Co...

Learn More
News Alert
January 10, 2023

Attention Employers: Upcoming H-1B Registration Period

It’s that time of year again! Time to start preparing for the fiscal year...

Learn More

Other Upcoming Events

View All Upcoming Events
7:30 am
11:00 am

2023 Transportation, Logistics & Trade Seminar

Learn More
12:00 pm
6:00 pm

LendiCon 2023

Learn More

40th Annual Employment Law Seminar

Learn More

Get in Touch

Our attorneys, paralegals and staff look forward to hearing from you. Please reach out to let us know how we can help.

Get In Touch
Super Lawyers
Best Law Firms US News
Best Lawyers