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Gov. Tom Wolf clarifies business closure order, Pa’s COVID-19 cases hit 96

Pennsylvania cases of COVID-19 is up to 96, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

Pennsylvania cases of COVID-19 is up to 96, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced.

A total of 879 patients tested negative for COVID-19 virus. She said most testing is being conducted by commercial and hospital testing centers at this point, versus state testing.

So far, officials are not seeing a sustained community spread of the virus, but the health department does expect that will happen, she said. It is important to follow the guidelines set out by the federal and state government to help prevent the virus’ spread.

“Your main job right now is to stay calm, stay home and stay safe,” she said.

Gov. Tom Wolf also clarified Monday’s order that all non-essential businesses close temporarily to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many people expressed confusion over which businesses were included in the designation of non-essential.

“Non-essential businesses include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities, including but not limited to 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; retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations,” a statement said.

Restaurants and bars should close their dine-in facilities, but can continue to offer carry-out, delivery and drive-thru service, and a number of area restaurants have, the governor said.

“According to Wolf, businesses considered essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.”

He also said businesses that can have employees work remotely should do so.

“Other businesses, including but not limited to legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services are encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute,” he said. “If that is not possible, they should employ social distancing best practices and be aware of the Trump Administration’s guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.“

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