McKean County had 17 businesses included on Gov. Tom Wolf’s list of businesses that received waivers to operate while Pennsylvania was in the red phase, which was released Friday.
Wolf’s administration received 42,000 exemption requests following the order to shut down all non life-sustaining businesses as of 8 p.m. on March 19.
Of those requests, 12,826 were denied, 6,123 were granted and 11, 635 requests came from businesses that were deemed life-sustaining and did not require the exemption to operate.
In McKean County, 17 waivers were granted, including waivers for Zippo Manufacturing Co., Kane Hardwoods, Georgia-Pacific Panel Products LLC, Singer’s Country Store, Plants and Goodwin Inc., Kessel Construction, Leisure Time Motorsports of Bradford, Recycall Inc. and Wright Monumental Works.
Zippo was one of the businesses in McKean County that received a waiver to continue operations under Wolf’s shutdown order.
“Zippo Manufacturing Company received a waiver on March 30, 2020. According to information from the Governor’s Office, a determination was made that Zippo’s operations were necessary to support life-sustaining businesses,” stated Amanda DePrins, marketing manager of Zippo. “Although the waiver allowed Zippo to continue physical operations, we took a cautious and conservative approach designed to meet business needs, while most importantly protecting employee safety.”
DePrins explained that the approach included starting out with a reduced number of employees in various departments, including fulfillment, fuel and shipping operations. Those numbers were expanded once various mitigation measures could be put into place to ensure the safety of employees and the public. For those employees who can telework, Zippo continues to require that they do so, DePrins stated.
With the current yellow phase for McKean County, safety and continued mitigation efforts are a priority for all residents. Recognizing this fact, DePrins stated that further efforts have been instituted by Zippo Manufacturing.
“The health and safety of our employees remains a top priority of Zippo. Zippo has created a Pandemic Response Team, which has developed and implemented policies, procedures and safeguards to go above and beyond state requirements and CDC, WHO & OSHA guidelines,” she said. “Measures include requiring employees to use masks per Governor Wolf’s Order, conducting daily temperature checks, implementing structural barriers, reducing touch points, enforcement of social distancing, increasing sanitation routines, and requiring employees with symptoms or exposures to stay at home.”
An official with Collins Pine, the parent company of Kane Hardwoods, confirmed the business continued to operate during the shutdown. Further questions were referred to Mill Manager Rick Engerbretsen, who stated that despite the business’s inclusion on the list of those granted exemptions, Kane Hardwood was considered essential and they were not required to apply for an exemption.
Officials with Georgia-Pacific Panel Products LLC did not respond to a message requesting comment.
In Cameron County, 15 businesses received waivers of exemption, including Moyer Building & Remodeling, Emporium Forging, Emporium Hardwoods Operating Company LLC., Emporium Powdered Metal, Racoh Products Inc. and Superior Tooling Technologies Inc.
In Potter County seven businesses were granted waivers; Empereon, Diehlux, LLC., Cianbro Corporation, Konzel Construction Co., Inc., Morgan Advanced Materials (Seals and bearings business unit), C.A. Elliott Lumber Co., Inc. and Catalus Corporation.
Elk County saw 67 waivers granted to various businesses, including Graftech USA, Elk County Powdered Metal, Inc., Chicken Hill Distillery, Pro-Dig Enterprises, Quail Hill Soap Co., St. Marys Carbon Company and Kreckel Enterprises, Inc.