|Posted:||December 16, 2020 10:38 AM|
|From:||Senator Maria Collett|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Protecting Employees from Assault While Enforcing Public Health Guidance|
|As the positive cases of the Coronavirus have continued to increase in the Commonwealth and across the nation, the public has been asked to wear masks while out in public, especially in scenarios where social distancing is not possible. Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and adhering to rigorous hand hygiene standards help keep each of us safe and reduces the rate of infection for COVID-19.
Regrettably, we have seen too many cases of individuals becoming physically violent with those who are trying to enforce these public health standards. In places of business, employees are asked to carry out enforcement of these public health guidelines or the public health practices required by their employer which seeks to keep the employees and the consumer safe. A Bethlehem store clerk was shot at when he asked a customer to adhere to the mask requirement policy. At Sesame Place in Bucks County, a 17 year old employee was assaulted for asking patrons to adhere to mask requirements and suffered injuries requiring surgery. A Perkasie convenience store clerk was repeatedly assaulted by a patron who refused to wear a mask. Though the pandemic has disrupted the normal practices of our lives, this is no reason for anyone to engage in assaulting individuals who attempt to uphold these safety measures.
That is why I will be introducing legislation to upgrade the assault of any employee enforcing mask and social distancing requirements to a felony. I hope you will join me in sponsoring legislation that protects employees who continue to risk their health during this pandemic in order to earn a paycheck. It’s crucial during this public health crisis that we in the legislature align our laws to discourage this type of retaliation.