Farms, food processors and feed mills are not among the businesses Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is urging to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On March 16, Wolf "strongly urged" nonessential businesses across the state to close for at least 14 days. The governor had previously designated Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery as mitigation counties, with Allegheny County launching its own mitigation efforts.
Grocery stores, hardware and auto repair shops, health care units, banks, laundromats, veterinary practices and pet stores, warehouses and hotels are among the other businesses that are considered essential services. Gyms, hair salons and malls are some of the businesses considered nonessential.
House Republicans said they were encouraged by the Wolf administration's work to fight the virus and keep citizens informed, but they said the governor's explanation of the statewide shutdown had confused many business owners.
"The governor has not mandated the immediate closure of any businesses in Pennsylvania. He has 'strongly urged' that 'nonessential' businesses shut down as part of social distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus," the leaders said in a statement. "We agree this is a time to limit exposure to large groups of people, but if you, or a business owner you know, wishes to remain in business, it is their right to do so."
The Republicans said the administration's mandate to end dine-in service at bars and restaurants was within its power through Liquor Control Board and Department of Health regulations. Food establishments can still offer takeout and delivery.