What are considered 'nonessential' businesses? A lot of them

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania speaks at a new conference at Pennsylvania Emergency Management Headquarters where he said he was ordering schools and other facilities to close in a suburban Philadelphia county, Montgomery County, that has been hard-hit by the COVID-19, Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all "nonessential" businesses to close at midnight Tuesday to combat the spread of COVID-19, and it turns out a lot fall under that umbrella.

During a virtual town hall on Monday morning, Wolf said that the decision was necessary, although he "didn't take it lightly." That order will last at least two weeks, coming after the state confirmed 76 total COVID-19 cases.  

Businesses such as hospitals, gas stations and pharmacies will all be deemed "essential" and remain open.

More:UPDATE: Wolf orders all 'non-life-sustaining' businesses to close 'physical locations'

More:UPDATE: Which businesses are life-sustaining and which aren't

More:Today is the last day to buy booze before state-owned wine and liquor stores close

More:UPDATED: The latest closings and cancellations in York County

More:Wolf declares state of emergency, shuttering all 'nonessential' businesses across state

More:The latest information on coronavirus and COVID-19 from the CDC

But there are significantly more businesses that fall under the category of nonessential, according to criteria disseminated by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Nonessential businesses include community and recreational centers; gyms; hair salons and nail salons; casinos; concert venues; theaters; sporting events; and retail facilities, including shopping malls.

Liquor stores turned out to also be on that list, as the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced later in the day that all state liquor stores would be closed indefinitely beginning Tuesday.

Gov. Tom Wolf had already closed all schools in the state prior to Monday's disaster declaration.

He had also ordered the closure of bars and restaurants in Allegheny, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties, which had been hit particularly hard by the virus.

Brandon's Beverage on Mt. Rose Avenue has a sign on the door stating they are "essential" and will stay open during the governor's two-week shutdown, Monday, March 16, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Still, the fear of the virus spreading trickled down to businesses in York County.

For example, organizers for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade slated for last weekend canceled the event, drawing the ire of local bars, whose owners griped that it would throttle their profits. They still opted to stay open.

Left Bank Restaurant & Bar took it a step further, though, closing its doors for 12-24 weeks.

Late Sunday, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the cancellation or postponement of all events where more than 50 people are expected to attend. 

Customers wait in line to check out at Brandon's Beverage on Mt. Rose Avenue in Springettsbury Township, Monday, March 16, 2020. A sign on the door reads "We are considered essential, We will be open"
John A. Pavoncello photo

Early Monday morning, York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler also declared a state of emergency and prohibited “nonessential” visits at county offices, although the county still has not had any confirmed cases.

There have been 76 confirmed cases in the state, none of which has been in York County.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.