Joshua Baker, Attorney at Law

Joshua D. Baker


Posted on March 22, 2020

Everyone is now aware that Governor Wolf has ordered that all non-life sustaining places of business are to be closed with no date given for when they may re-open.

Late on Friday, the Governor extended the compliance deadline to 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020.  Pennsylvania has also indicated that enforcement actions will be taken against those businesses which are out of compliance.

The Shutdown Order is available at:

A list of businesses which may continue operations was revised as of 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020.  The revised list is available at:

The Governor’s office has indicated that industry codes (NAICS codes) were used to compile the list of businesses covered by the Shutdown Order.

Many businesses are asking whether they are covered or not by the Shutdown Order.  The first step should be self-assessment.  In other words, does your business fit within the definition of a life-sustaining business as laid out in the Shutdown Order?  This question is fact-dependent, including how your business is classified, the services it provides, and how it may qualify as life-sustaining.  We are available to consult with businesses to determine how they are classified under the Shutdown Order.

If your business is to be closed under the Shutdown Order, the second step is to apply for a waiver or exemption via the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development.  In the exemption request, the business must (among other things) be able to justify why it should qualify as life-sustaining and how it plans to meet CDC recommended guidelines to keep employees safe during the pandemic.

But what happens if the Department of Community & Economic Development denies your company’s request for a waiver or exemption?  Under what is known as King’s Bench jurisdiction, you can bypass the trial and appeal courts in Pennsylvania and petition the Pennsylvania Supreme Court directly for relief.  While this may sound daunting and expensive, two (2) industries filed for emergency relief on Friday with the Supreme Court.  The first industry settled amicably with the Commonwealth on Saturday, presumably on satisfactory terms to the impacted industry.  The second industry had its case fast-tracked and is in front of the Supreme Court now for a ruling.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and we stand ready to consult and assist any business impacted by the Shutdown Order.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Metz Lewis contact, Brian Must ( or 412-918-1124), or Josh Baker ( or 412-918-1149) if you have any questions or wish to discuss.

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