PA gov. orders "all non-life-sustaining businesses" to close immediately, outlines penalties for non-compliance

by Adam Ford · Mar 19th, 2020 5:57 pm

Last Updated Mar 19th, 2020 at 6:21 pm

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in the state to close their physical locations by 8:00 p.m. in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"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."  

Wolf said enforcement actions against non-compliant businesses will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and released a statement outlining possible punishments, which include criminal charges and imprisonment:

"Failure to comply with these requirements will result in enforcement action that could include citations, fines, or license suspensions. 

The governor has 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."


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