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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 23, 2020 04:26 PM
From: Senator Scott Martin and Sen. Ryan P. Aument, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, Sen. Elder A. Vogel, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Allowing For A Waiver For Small Garden Centers
In the very near future, we will be introducing legislation which will require the Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to issue a waiver to the Governor’s COVID-19 Business Closure Order to all garden centers that can safely adhere to social distancing practices, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and other mitigation measures.
We have heard of many inconsistencies of some businesses receiving waivers and a similar business not receiving a waiver from DCED. This is also the case in many small garden centers that we have heard from over the past several weeks located throughout Lancaster and York counties.
Right now, many customers and farmers are looking to buy their spring fruit and vegetable plants from these businesses but cannot do so because DCED deemed them “non-life sustaining” and therefore cannot remain open. We heard from one vegetable grower that the amount a garden center sells in plant materials, just provided by him, equates to roughly 375 truck loads of produce that goes into our communities. We contend that this service is, indeed, life-sustaining.
This measure would also put our locally owned garden centers on an equal playing field with big box garden corporate-owned locations that are currently open and selling similar products.
Please join us in supporting this important piece of legislation to allow our locally owned garden centers to reopen to protect their livelihood and provide this essential resource to all Pennsylvanians during this critical time. 

Introduced as SB1134