Pennsylvania governor orders non-life-sustaining businesses to close by 8 p.m. Thursday
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
In a press release, Wolf said enforcement actions would begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday for businesses that do not close physical locations.
“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.”
Failure to comply and enforcement
Failure to comply with these requirements will result in enforcement action that could include citations, fines, or license suspensions.
The governor 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
Private businesses, local organizations, and other noncompliant entities that fail or refuse to comply with the governor’s orders that protect the lives and health of Pennsylvanians will forfeit their ability to receive any applicable disaster relief and/or may be subject to other appropriate administrative action. Such action may include termination of state loan or grant funding, including Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) grant funding and/or suspension or revocation of licensure for violation of the law.
Finally, in addition to any other criminal charges that might be applicable, the Department of Health is authorized to prosecute noncompliant entities for the failure to comply with health laws, including quarantine, isolation or other disease control measures. Violators are subject to fines or imprisonment.
Business Loans and Support
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses.
The Wolf administration announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Businesses seeking guidance from DCED can also contact its customer service resource account at email@example.com or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and selecting option 1.