Rep. Wendy Ullman votes to open PA garden centers safely, quickly

HARRISBURG, April 30 – The House today passed legislation to open garden centers, whose work is critical to keeping Pennsylvanians provide food for themselves and the environment, after an amendment supported by state Rep. Rep Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, was added to include critical health and public safety requirements for employees and customers.

The bill must be passed in the Senate before going to Gov. Tom Wolf. Ullman said the requirements are in line with Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s direction to keep people safe and calm while reopening the economy.

“Our garden centers are a vital part of our community, and I’m glad both sides of the aisle were able to come together to pass a bill that will enable them to open safely,” Ullman said.  “During this time of crisis, I’m glad Pennsylvanians will have a chance to plant during the spring season, whether its food for the table, for sale, or simply to beautify the landscape. I’m glad to see this step taken to reopen Pennsylvania safely.”

All stores that receive a waiver to open and operate 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 hand washing.
  • 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.