Gov. Wolf orders all non-life-sustaining businesses in PA to close physical locations

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf is tightening his directives to businesses to shut down, issuing a dire warning and saying Thursday that all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations by 8 p.m. to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close their physical locations will begin Saturday, Wolf said in a statement.

“I had hoped for voluntary compliance so our public safety officials could focus on assisting with the crisis,” Wolf said in a video statement. “Unfortunately we have not seen full compliance. We have no time to lose.”

Under Wolf’s order, more than 150 types of businesses have been told to close their physical locations.

Wolf said his order would be enforced by state troopers, local officials, the state Health and Agriculture departments and the Liquor Control Board.

Businesses that fail to comply risk citations, fines or license suspensions, and “forfeit their ability to receive any applicable disaster relief and/or may be subject to other appropriate administrative action,” Wolf’s office said in a statement.

Criminal prosecution is also a possibility, with violators subject to fines or imprisonment, Wolf’s office said.

Businesses that remain open must practice social distancing and other measures to protect workers and patrons from contracting the virus, it said.