Coronavirus (COVID 19) Life-Sustaining Business Closures in Pennsylvania
On Thursday, March 19, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement of this order is to begin on March 21.
Businesses in the category of “Clay Product and Refractory Manufacturing,” among the listed categories which may apply to HarbisonWalker International, have been ordered to close physical operations. At the same time, many of our largest customers’ businesses, including steel, aluminum, pulp & paper, cement, plastics, rubber, and chemicals manufacturers, are permitted to remain open. The refractory products and services we provide to those industries are absolutely essential to these manufacturing processes.
While we fully support the State’s decision to maintain operations of these vital industries in support of disease containment and prevention efforts, as well as the preservation of infrastructure, these manufacturers rely on HarbisonWalker International as a critical supplier. Their operations cannot function without refractories.
For this reason, we are seeking clarifications or revisions to the order, as well as filing for a waiver as prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED).
At HarbisonWalker International, we run our business safely and responsibly. Starting last week, our employees not involved directly in manufacturing voluntarily complied with our recommendations to work from home. At our critical manufacturing locations, we have instituted all necessary safety and hygiene precautions to maintain the highest standards of safety and protection of our employees.
We understand the weight of the situation and fully support the efforts of our government officials to blunt the effects of spreading the COVID-19 virus in our home state, and across other states that may follow the lead of Pennsylvania. The State’s order to close physical locations under the category of “Clay Product and Refractory Manufacturing” while supporting the continued operations of designated “life-sustaining” businesses, however, is simply not feasible.
As we continue to engage constructively with the State, we encourage the active support of this position by all life-sustaining businesses that require HarbisonWalker International refractories. We will continue to keep all relevant parties informed as the situation evolves.
About HarbisonWalker International
With more than 150 years of industry leadership and global recognition, HarbisonWalker International is the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the United States. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the company’s international network spans North America, Europe, and Asia, with 18 manufacturing plants, 20 global sourcing centers, and the largest refractory industry research facility in North America. Serving virtually every major industry that requires refractory solutions to enhance production and protect assets, HWI is consistently recognized for its talented experts, industry firsts, and intensely driven excellence.