Wolf orders shutdown of all non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf extended a shutdown order to the entire state of Pennsylvania in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus, he said Monday.

Wolf had already called for nonessential government offices to close and nonessential business activity to end in four suburban Pennsylvania counties.

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On Monday, he extended that order to the rest of the state.

“This isn’t a decision that I take lightly at all,” Wolf said. “It’s one I’m making because medical experts believe it’s the only way we can prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed.”

His office said Monday he will extend that order to the rest of the state.

In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney ordered a halt to all nonessential business activity and city government operations for two weeks in the city of 1.6 million people.

In issuing the order, Kenney asked that residents and businesses observe the restrictions, and said he understood that it could have devastating effects on them.

“We are aware that this will disrupt life in Philadelphia and we do not make these changes lightly,” he said in an address from City Hall.

The closures will last through at least March 27.

City officials deemed the following businesses as essential:

– Supermarkets and grocery stores

– Big box stores

– Pharmacies

– Discount stores, mini-markets, and non-specialized food stores

– Daycare centers

– Hardware stores

– Gas stations

– Banks

– Post Offices

– Laundromats and dry cleaners

– Veterinary clinics for domestic pets and pet stores


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Restaurants and bars in Philadelphia cannot have dine-in service, but can still offer takeout and delivery options.

Also deemed essential were commercial establishments that sell "essential" items, including frozen products, audio and video consumer electronics, household appliances, hardware, electrical, plumbing and heating material, automotive fuel, sanitary equipment, personal hygiene products, non-prescription medication, and medical equipment.

The city plans launch a program to support Philadelphia businesses, help maintain payroll obligations and preserve jobs impacted by the spread of COVID-19. More details about the program, including how businesses can apply, will be announced in the coming days.

The city is using a special system to share important information about COVID-19 through free text alerts. You can text the keyword COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive info and updates through ReadyPhiladelphia, the city's mass communication system.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health on Saturday announced the activation of the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. The 24/7 helpline is a free resource to anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area who has questions about COVID-19.

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