This article was written by a 2020 graduate of Vermont Law School who is not yet licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania and reviewed by Attorney Joshua Prince. The information below is presented for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.
Under the original stay-at-home order, the Red Phase, and the Yellow Phase, shooting ranges arguably fell into the “Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation” Industry Sector of the North American Industry Classification System, upon which Governor Wolf’s Life Sustaining Businesses List is based. This article will focus exclusively on how the latest orders and the transition to Green Phase affects shooting ranges. If you would like more detailed information on how shooting ranges were treated under the original order or the other color phases, as well as an argument for their reopening, check out my previous article here.
In the two weeks since my last article was published, 18 counties have transitioned to the Green Phase and the Governor and the Secretary of Health have issued new orders regarding which businesses are permitted to open. Pursuant to those orders, ALL businesses, EXCEPT health care providers, are permitted to conduct in-person operations. Meaning shooting ranges in Green Phase counties, are permitted to open. Those businesses that were already permitted to be conducting in-person operations may increase their capacity to 75% of their stated maximum occupancy, while businesses just permitted to reopen may do so below 50% capacity.
However, businesses in those counties, including ranges, are still subject to limitations. They must follow CDC and PA Dept. of Health Guidelines. These guidelines are extensive and beyond the scope of this article, but they include such measures as temperature checking employees, developing a plan for a probable or confirmed workplace virus exposure, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas (like shooting ports). Additionally, the orders and guidelines all strongly recommend operating by appointment only, whether that is feasible for your range is a decision only you can make.
Remember, ranges are frequently small businesses and they could use your patronage as they reopen. It is important for us to support each other during these trying times. If you have questions about reopening your range and would like to set up a consult with an attorney to discuss in more detail your options and risks, contact us to set up a consultation.
At the time of publishing, the 18 counties in the Green Phase are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren. Check the State Government’s website for the most up-to-date list.