PAOLI, PA — State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, said today that lawn and garden centers are one step closer to opening thanks to the passage of House Bill 2429. This legislation included an amendment supported by Shusterman and fellow Democrats that would provide critical health and public safety requirements for employees and customers.
The bill must be passed in the Senate before going to Gov. Tom Wolf. Shusterman said that the requirements to protect workers are in line with Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s direction to keep people safe and calm while reopening the economy.
“I voted in favor of HB2429 when it was brought up for a vote on Thursday in order to help our garden centers reopen. Professionals in this community wait all year to harvest their work, denying them their prime season would be devastating,” Shusterman said. “I support these incremental steps to reopening our economy, and garden centers are just the beginning. Additionally, this bill would ensure that workers have clean working conditions, hazard pay, PPE and paid sick leave. I hope that this measure, which was supported across the aisle, will serve as an example moving forward.”
All garden centers that receive a waiver and operate as a result of the legislation would be required to provide, at minimum, the following protections for an essential employee:
- Additional hazard pay, relative to the employee’s risk of exposure.
- Appropriate new personal protective equipment at the start of every shift. Personal protective equipment shall include, but not be limited to, gloves and a mask.
- A work environment that maximizes the safety of the employee and the public, including, but not limited to, social distancing and barriers.
- Cleaning areas with adequate soap and water and breaks to frequently engage in handwashing.
- Leave for sickness, which shall be compensated at the employee’s normal wage.
- Information by the lawn and garden store if a coworker has been tested for COVID-19 and the results of those tests when available. A lawn and garden store operating in the commonwealth under a waiver that violates any of the requirements above would be immediately closed and would not be permitted to reopen until the lawn and garden store is in compliance.
For more information, contact Shusterman’s office at (484) 200-8260.
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