Legal Hotline: Governor’s Closure Order

Legal Hotline: Governor’s Closure Order

PNA Legal Hotline

Q: What does the governor’s order requiring “non-life sustaining” businesses to close mean for my news organization?  Do we have to close? What if we are located in one of the counties under the governor’s recent “stay-at-home” order?

A: News organizations are excluded from the governor’s business closure order because they are considered a “life sustaining” business. This exemption also applies in counties where the governor has implemented a “stay-at-home” order prohibiting individuals from non-necessary travel.

As an exempt business, news organizations may remain open and their staff and contractors may continue to work, and travel for employment purposes.  This exemption also permits staff and contractors to travel to/from, or through, a county under a “stay-at-home” order for employment purposes.

It is advisable for news organization staff and contractors to carry written documentation verifying their status as working on behalf of a news organization in the event they encounter barriers while traveling to/from work or while working on behalf of the news organization.

PNA has prepared a form letter for publishers to distribute to staff and contractors. The template letter should be completed with relevant information, be printed on newspaper letterhead and signed by the publisher or a duly authorized representative. PNA is also recommending that staff and contactors be instructed to carry a copy of the letter, a photo ID, a copy of the governor’s order and a copy of the list of “life-sustaining” businesses for reference.

You can access the letter, with attachments, here.

You can access the governor’s most recent business closure order here and the list of “life-sustaining” businesses here.

You can access the governor’s “stay-at-home” order here. As of March 26, 2020, the counties under a “stay-at-home” order are Allegheny County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Erie County, Lehigh County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Northampton County, and Philadelphia County.

As always, PNA is here to help, and you can reach the PNA Legal Hotline at (717) 703-3080 or melissam@pa-news.org with questions.