At approximately 6:00 p.m. on March 19, 2020, Governor Wolf ordered that “non-life-sustaining businesses” throughout the Commonwealth close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Beginning at 8:00 p.m. tonight (March 19), all non-life-sustaining businesses must be closed, and enforcement of that mandate will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 21. The executive order is available online for review.
The Governor’s Office also provided extensive guidance on “life-sustaining” versus “non-life-sustaining” businesses. A five-page chart outlining those groups of businesses and industries in each category may be found is available for review.
The Governor stated that businesses and entities that defy his order and become subject to enforcement actions will face citations, fines, and even license suspensions. Indeed, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has already begun suspending restaurant, retail, and other liquor licenses of bars and restaurants that have refused to stop seating guests.
Importantly, the Governor’s mandate does not shut down non-life-sustaining businesses, and specifically permits “virtual or telework operations, so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed in such operations.” Although law firms are considered non-life-sustaining businesses, The Lynch Law Group remains operational, as our attorneys and staff are fully equipped with the tools and technology to serve our clients while working remotely. Rather, the Governor’s order strengthens the need across the Commonwealth for all individuals to participate in social distancing as recommended by public health officials. Even businesses that are permitted to continue to operate “normally,” are urged by the Governor to follow the CDC recommended rules regarding social distancing and to follow mitigation methods to protect employees and customers.
Our attorneys are available to answer your questions and concerns regarding how the Governor’s executive order may impact your business or entity. Please call us at (724) 776-8000 for guidance in this matter.