Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The deadline to shut down is 8 p.m. Thursday
Wolf said enforcement actions against businesses that do not comply with the order will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
In extenuating circumstances, special exemptions will be granted to businesses that are supplying or servicing health care providers.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” Wolf said in a statement. “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”
The governor had previously encouraged non-life-sustaining businesses to close to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars were already required to stop all dine-in services. Enforcement for establishments with a liquor license began at 8 p.m. March 18, and enforcement for all other food establishments will begin at 8 p.m. tonight. Food establishments can offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service, including alcohol.
The Wolf administration’s definition of nonessential businesses include community and recreation centers; gyms, including yoga, barre and spin facilities; hair salons, barbers, nail salons and spas; casinos; concert venues; theaters; bars; sporting event venues and golf courses; retail facilities, including shopping malls, except for pharmacies or other health care facilities within retail operations.
The administration said essential services and sectors include, but are not limited, to food processing; agriculture; industrial manufacturing; feed mills; construction; trash collection; grocery stores; convenience stores; retailers of household goods; home repair, hardware and auto repair stores; pharmacy and other medical facilities; biomedical and health care facilities; post offices and shipping outlets; insurers; banks; gas stations; laundromats; veterinary clinics and pet stores; warehousing, storage, and distribution facilities; public transportation; and hotel and commercial lodging.
The governor has directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce the closure orders to the full extent of the law:
- Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
- Department of Health
- Department of Agriculture
- Pennsylvania State Police
- Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions
Noncompliant businesses or groups that fail or refuse to comply with the order will forfeit their ability to receive any applicable disaster relief and could be subject to other administrative action. That action could include citations, fines, or license suspensions.
In addition, the Department of Health is authorized to prosecute those who fail to comply with health laws, including quarantine, isolation or other disease control measures. Violators are subject to fines or imprisonment.