As of 8:00 p.m. Thursday evening, March 19, 2020, all “non-life-sustaining” businesses throughout Pennsylvania must close its physical locations in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, according to a new order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf.

The new mandate, which is a follow-up to the administration’s recommendation that all non-essential businesses suspend operations to help curb the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus last week, will include enforcement actions against businesses that do not comply with the order. Businesses that do not close physical locations by 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, could face citations, fines and license suspensions, as well as jeopardize forfeiture of current or future state grant or disaster relief funding.

The administration provided a list of businesses that may remain open and those that must close, which can be found here.

Under the new order, food establishments can continue to offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service, including alcohol. In addition, the prohibition does not apply to “work from home” options, as long employees practice social distancing and other mitigation measures.

Earlier today, the governor announced the state would make available low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible nonprofits across the Commonwealth through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). But the latest order to force the shutdown of physical locations of “non-life-sustaining” business is sure to have a significant impact on an already concerned business community.

For those businesses seeking guidance, please contact the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group.

More information on what you can do to protect yourself and others can be found at or check out the CDC’s coronavirus information page.

Special thanks to the McNees Strategic Solutions Group for contributing this post.