UPDATE: State Police to begin enforcing all 'non-life-sustaining' businesses to close | Health | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

UPDATE: State Police to begin enforcing all 'non-life-sustaining' businesses to close

click to enlarge UPDATE: State Police to begin enforcing all 'non-life-sustaining' businesses to close
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UPDATE 2 p.m., Sun., March 22: The following state agencies and local officials have been directed by Governor Wolf to enforce the closures of non-life sustaining businesses beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday:
- 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

“Troopers and liquor control officers will make every effort to achieve voluntary compliance by educating business owners and using discretion when appropriate," said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, in a press release. "But our message is clear: COVID-19 is a serious health and public safety risk that requires an extraordinary response from law enforcement and the public. I urge everyone to stay home, stay calm, and stay safe.”

UPDATE — 11:15 p.m., Fri., March 20
: Non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania were ordered to close their physical locations at 8 p.m. on Thursday night to help stem the spread of coronavirus, but a high volume of waiver request forms has caused the governor's office to delay enforcements until 8 a.m., Mon., March 23.

A full list of the state's life-sustaining businesses can be found in the original story below. According to a press release sent earlier this evening, businesses can request further clarification on whether or not they qualify as life-sustaining by emailing the Department of Community and Economic Development at [email protected] or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and selecting option 1.

Businesses who are labeled as non-life sustaining can apply for a waiver here to request an exemption but must remained closed unless they receive an email notification saying they can re-open.

Originally published Thu., March 19:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is ordering a large swath of businesses to close up shop temporarily to help stem the spread of coronavirus, as the number of positive cases in Pennsylvania has grown rapidly over the last week.

Today, he announced orders that all "non-life-sustaining" businesses must temporarily shutter, or face enforcement by the state government starting Sat., March 21. These businesses include construction projects, textile and electrical equipment manufacturing, insurance carriers, private schools, accounting firms, and several retail businesses. A full list of businesses that can and can't stay open is available below. They are order to close by today, Thu., March 19 at 8 p.m.

UPDATED - Industry Operatio... by Governor Tom Wolf on Scribd

“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” said Wolf 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.”  

According to a press release, in some extenuating circumstances, special exemptions will be granted to businesses that are supplying or servicing health care providers. Wolf also announced availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Pittsburgh-area businesses may also qualify for other financial assistance through local loans. Pittsburgh City Paper details these in our recent Pittsburgh guide to coronavirus.

Businesses that are allowed to stay open include grocery stores, food and chemical manufacturers, lumber and hardware suppliers, transportation providers, utility companies, hospitals, and most telecommunication companies.

There are now 18 positive cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, and at least 25 confirmed cases in the Pittsburgh area. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the state has seen at least 185 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with a higher concentration in the Philadelphia area, particularly Montgomery County.

The confirmed cases have grown significantly over the last week.

Earlier this week, Wolf ordered the closures of public schools, libraries, and the in-dining sections of restaurants and bars. The White House has recommended that gatherings be limited to less than 10 people.