Gov. Wolf orders ‘non-life-sustaining businesses’ to close. What does it mean?

Governor Tom Wolf speaking to reporters.
Photo credit The Office of Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all "non-life-sustaining businesses" in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

After scrutiny from some industry leaders and stakeholders, he released an updated list on Friday in an attempt to help clear up some confusion (scroll down to see the list).

Wolf first stated that enforcement actions against businesses that do not close their physical locations will begin on Saturday. However, on Friday evening, the governor said enforcement will become effective Monday 8 a.m. instead.

There will be special exemptions for businesses that are supplying or servicing health care providers.

Life-sustaining businesses can stay open, but he emphasized the need to follow social distancing guidelines. 

In the list, Wolf details what businesses are considered life-sustaining and which are non-life-sustaining.

Wolf has modified restrictions on some categories such as legal services, construction, and schools and colleges.

Specialty food stores, accountants, dry cleaning, laundry services and tax preparation services are considered to be life-sustaining businesses, so they can stay open. 

Restaurants are still allowed to offer takeout meals, and food providers and food manufacturers can stay open. 

Gas stations, car repair services, food relief, waste management, car rental, and beer distributors are also other examples of organizations that don't need to close. 

For more information, check out the list below: 

Still unsure? The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Protection asks businesses with questions as to whether their organization needs to close to email

Any business interested in seeking a waiver to the order can reach out to the state directly by emailing or calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select “option 1.”

Editor's note: This story was updated on March 20, 9:25 p.m., to reflect the governor's updates.