All “non-life sustaining” businesses have been ordered to close their physical locations in Pennsylvania as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb, Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Thursday.
Today I’m taking decisive action to stop the spread of #COVID19 by ordering all non-life-sustaining businesses to close by 8 p.m.
Enforcement actions against businesses that don’t close will begin Saturday and could include citations, fines & license suspensions. pic.twitter.com/WSd5weA93b
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) March 19, 2020
Businesses must close their doors by 8.pm. tonight. If they do not, owners could be fined, lose their business license, or even be jailed. Enforcement actions will be taken starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. (RELATED: Similar To WWII, Companies Are Repurposing To Fight The Coronavirus)
The only businesses that can stay open are farms and their suppliers, food manufacturers, medical care facilities, medical products suppliers and banks, as well as retailers that sell food, gas, automotive parts, and building materials. Restaurants and beer distributors can also remain open for takeout.
“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.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that there have been 196 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Keystone State since Wolf announced the first case on Wednesday.
“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days and our first death in Pennsylvania indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously. Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.