Gov. Tom Wolf orders closure of businesses amid coronavirus outbreak

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Gov. Tom Wolf orders the closure of all “non-life-sustaining businesses” by 8PM on Wednesday as the U.S. faces the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Only groceries, gas stations medical facilities, pharmacies, restaurants with delivery service, public utilities, as well as freight hauling, manufacturing, farming, media companies like PA Media Group can remain open and operate.

“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. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely,” he added.

The new order from Wolf does not include a public curfew yet and it would not completely shut down commercial life in Pennsylvania.

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“I had hoped for voluntary compliance so our public safety officers could focus on assisting with the crisis,” Wolf said in a videotaped address. “Unfortunately, we have not seen full compliance. We have no time to lose. With every minute that passes, more Pennsylvanians come in to contact with the COVID-19 virus.

“This is what needs to be done to halt the spread of this virus.

His order means the Pennsylvania State Police, the state’s Liquor Control Enforcement agents and local police will be authorized to close down businesses. Non-compliance, according to Wolf, “will result in enforcement action that could include citations, fines, or license suspensions.”

Wolf said the warning period is over for restaurants now, and it will be for the other identified businesses on Saturday.

“We understand that there are necessary precautions that must be taken to protect life, but no other governor, even in states with many more cases and wider community spread, has taken this extreme action,” said Gordon Denlinger, state director of National Federation for Independent Business, reacting to Wolf’s statement.

“We want to know the basis for Governor Wolf’s decision and whether it is justified by specific federal Centers for Disease Control directives.”

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