**UPDATE: This order was amended a day after it was released. To see the new list and how to appeal if you’re a business owner, see our updated article here.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in the Commonwealth closed on Thursday night at 8 p.m. until further notice to address the apparent growing threat of coronavirus.
The announcement and the way in which it was handed down met immediate criticism and confusion.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” said Gov. Wolf. “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.”
To help you figure out which businesses are and aren’t life-sustaining, Wolf issued a series of spreadsheets that attempt to identify those businesses.
Is your business a “non-life-sustaining” one? Find out in Wolf’s charts below:
Compliance and Enforcement
According to an announcement from the state Dept. of Health, all restaurants and bars must close dine-in facilities.
“Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue, so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are employed to protect workers and patrons,” the order reads. “Enforcement actions will be taken against business that are out of compliance effective March 19, 2020, at 8 p.m.”
Further, the order reads:
“No person or entity shall operate a place of business that is not a life sustaining business regardless of whether the business is open to members of the public. This prohibition does not apply to virtual or telework operations (e.g., work from home). Life sustaining businesses may remain open, but they must employ social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease Control to protect their workers and patrons.”
The Health Dept. also explains why certain businesses are being ordered to close: “Non-life-sustaining businesses present the opportunity for unnecessary gatherings, personal contact and interaction that will increase the risk of transmission and the risk of community spread of COVID-19.”