Reed Smith Client Alerts

On March 16, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf held a press conference during which he announced that certain non-essential businesses were to close in Pennsylvania, effective at midnight. The announcement followed Pennsylvania's declaration of a "disaster emergency" on March 6, 2020 following the first two reported cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. While a number of outlets have described the announcement as an "order," a subsequent press release clarified that the governor only "strongly urged" certain non-essential businesses to close for at least 14 days to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The governor's press release described non-essential businesses to include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities, gyms, casinos, concert venues, theaters, sporting event venues and golf courses, as well as retail facilities, including shopping malls, except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations.

Essential services and sectors were described in the press release to include, among others, food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedicine and health care, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.

The press release went on to encourage other businesses, including legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services, to have employees work remotely or telecommute if possible.