Apr. 21, 2020

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s economy came one step closer to reopening today when the state House in Harrisburg approved a bill introduced by Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford/Erie) that’s intended to enable small businesses to serve their customers in a way that complies with public health officials’ recommendations for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My One Staffer/One Shopper bill would help enhance the safety of customers and workers,” Roae said. “Pennsylvanians could shop at small stores with one worker and no other customers, rather than going to large grocery chains or big box stores with dozens of workers and hundreds of customers.”

Gov. Tom Wolf recently enacted a statewide shutdown of all businesses he deemed non-life-sustaining enterprises. The administration at first provided a waiver application process, but it shut that down weeks ago.

Roae’s One Staffer/One Shopper bill would allow a retail business staffed by one employee to open for business as long as it allowed only one customer into the store at a time. Roae’s bill would enable shoppers to visit smaller venue retailers and avoid the larger crowds often present at big box stores.

“A customer could go into a store and interact with one other person, rather than possibly coming into contact with hundreds of people at larger retail stores,” Roae said.

Roae’s bill specifically would prevent the governor from closing retail stores that comply with his one-staffer, one-shopper rule.

Roae’s One Staffer/One Shopper bill also would enable small retailers to offer curbside pickup service for customers. The governor this week enabled state liquor stores to begin offering curbside pickup service.

“If curbside pickup service is good enough for government liquor stores, it should be good enough for Pennsylvania’s small businesses,” Roae said. “This is an issue of fairness and access for customers.”

Roae’s House Bill 2376 now heads to the Senate for consideration.