When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) shut down the state to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, his administration began issuing waivers to certain businesses that had been deemed not “life-sustaining,” which would allow them to remain open.
The process was not transparent, and resulted in some businesses within the same industry getting different treatment. As Spotlight PA reported earlier this month, one photographer was granted a waiver while another was denied. A notary was granted a waiver but had it revoked without explanation the night before a list of waiver recipients was publicly posted. A trucking company that had been denied a waiver was suddenly granted one without explanation at the same time.
There was seemingly no rhyme or reason to the process, and business owners and individuals sued. One lawsuit alleged Wolf and his administration violated petitioners “constitutional guarantees against having property taken without compensation and their rights to judicial review, equal protection under the law and free speech,” The Morning Call reported.
The state Supreme Court refused to review the lawsuit, but the U.S. Supreme Court ended up weighing in, ordering Wolf to respond to the lawsuit.
That particular lawsuit includes real estate agent Kathy Gregory, who told the Call that people who had agreed to sell their homes were not able to buy new properties before Wolf’s shut down order went into effect and that members of the military – who are still moving from assignment to assignment – are unable to find homes.
“How do you tell someone that housing is not a priority because the government shut us down?” she asked the outlet, adding that shelter is “basic.”