Senator Tom Killion (R-Chester and Delaware) introduced legislation today, Senate Bill 1116, that would temporarily halt evictions and foreclosures of businesses affected by measures implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Killion’s legislation piggybacks on a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court order suspending residential foreclosures and evictions.
“Small businesses are vital to our economy and an essential part of our communities,” said Killion. “The COVID-19 emergency has taken an unimaginable toll on them. Halting business evictions and foreclosures will make it easier for small business owners and the hardworking Pennsylvanians they employ to get back on their feet as we restart our economy.”
Restaurants and retail have been among businesses hardest hit by the emergency, Killion noted.
Dave Magrogan of West Chester owns and operates 10 restaurants throughout the region, employing more than 800. The shutdown order has forced him to lay off all but three of his employees. While several of his Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar locations initially remained open serving curbside and to-go meals, he has since closed his remaining restaurants.
Margrogan voiced his strong support for Killion’s legislation.
“Suspending defaults and evictions is critical to give restaurants, bars and other businesses a chance to get back on their feet and reopen,” said Magrogan. “Sen. Killion’s bill would make sure business owners have something other than the goodwill and mercy of their landlord in trying to reopen and re-establish their business. I hope the bill moves and becomes law quickly.”
Enjoying significant bi-partisan support, Senate Bill 1116 has 15 co-sponsors, nine Democrats and six Republicans. It is a priority of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA).
“The hospitality industry has been the most impacted by this crisis and the return to normal business operations will not be swift, our members have little to no revenue right now and we appreciate Senator Killion acknowledging this and introducing legislation that recognizes the time we will need to recover,” said PRLA President and CEO John Longstreet.
“Mom-and-pop retailers and restaurants are as vital to the fabric of our communities as our schools and civic organizations,” said Killion. “Industry experts suggest one out of every five restaurants might never emerge from this crisis. That’s not acceptable. Pennsylvania must do what it can to give these businesses a chance to reopen and succeed.”