Just What’s Essential? What’s Not? A Summary

HARRISBURG PA – Every business owner anywhere in Pennsylvania probably considers their operations “essential” to someone, if only themselves and their families. But when defining what essential means, in terms of staying open to the public during the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Tom Wolf offered clarification and guidance Monday (March 16, 2020) to state legislators and business community representatives.

24th District state Sen. Bob Mensch, who represents constituents in much of western Montgomery County, reported Tuesday (March 17) on specifics from the governor’s office. Wolf earlier ordered and urged “non-essential” businesses to close for 14 days in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.

According to the governor, Mensch said, non-essential businesses include:

  • Entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities;
  • Community and recreation centers; Gyms, including yoga, barre and spin facilities;
  • Hair salons and barber shops, nail salons and spas;
  • Casinos, concert venues, theaters, sporting event venues and golf courses; and
  • Retail facilities including shopping malls, except for pharmacy or other healthcare facilities within retail operations.

All restaurants and bars are required to close their dine-in facilities, but may continue to offer carry-out, delivery and drive-through services.

Essential industries include:

  • Food processing, agriculture, feed mills;
  • Industrial manufacturing, warehousing, storage, and distribution;
  • Construction, home repair, hardware, and auto repair;
  • Pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical, and healthcare;
  • Post offices and shipping outlets;
  • Grocery and household goods, convenience stores, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, and trash collection; and
  • Public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.

Other businesses, Mensch added, are encouraged to allow employees to work remotely or telecommute if possible.

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