All “non life-sustaining businesses” in the commonwealth must close their physical locations, according to an order issued late today by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Previously, Wolf had encouraged businesses to close, but now is mandating closures of physical locations by 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Wolf said that he’s requiring businesses to shut down their locations to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As of today’s noontime update, the state Department of Health reported 185 confirmed cases of the virus, including one death.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” Wolf said.
A life-sustaining business includes a broad range of businesses including food, health, transportation and telecommunications businesses. It excludes most consumer goods retail, arts and professional services businesses. Find a list here.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, Wolf derives the power to shut down businesses under the Emergency Management Services Code, once an emergency declaration has been issued.
Failure to comply, Wolf said, could result in enforcement actions including citations, fines or license suspensions.
“This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere,” he said. “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.”
For more information, visit the PA Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.