Deluged with waiver requests, Wolf admin. extends business enforcement shutdown deadline to Monday

    Saying it’s been hit with a large number of waiver requests, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has extended the enforcement of its shutdown order for non-essential businesses to Monday, March 23 at 8 a.m. The order had been set to take effect on Saturday, March 19 at 8 p.m.

    Wolf orders all ‘non-life-sustaining’ businesses to close; face state police action if they don’t

    The Democratic administration faced significant pushback from business leaders and Republican lawmakers over the order it issued Thursday. The edict initially affected scores of businesses statewide, including laundromats, performing arts venues, recreation centers, entertainment venues, and general merchandise stores.

    From a statement issued late Friday: 

    Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining should check this list, email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service resource account at [email protected], or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff. For businesses that determine from the list that they are non-life sustaining, but would like to seek a waiver, there is an online waiver application

    When a business completes a waiver form, a team of professionals at DCED will review each request and respond based on the guiding principle of balancing public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified via email if their operations may re-open. Businesses applying for a waiver must remain closed until a decision is made about their application. 

    DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). 

    For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow www.governor.pa.gov and www.doh.pa.gov.

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.