State gets nearly 10,000 requests for waivers from Wolf’s coronavirus shutdown order

Beginning Monday, violators could face fines, jail time

The Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Russ Walker/PA Post)

The Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Russ Walker/PA Post)

This article originally appeared on PA Post.


Pennsylvania has received nearly 10,000 waiver requests from businesses and organizations seeking to remain open while Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order for “non-life sustaining” businesses remains in effect.

“We have reviewed over half of them,” said Dennis Davin, secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, shortly after noon on Sunday. “And we hope to have these reviewed in the next day or two.”

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He said the goal is to process all of the requests before enforcement procedures go into place Monday.

On Thursday, Wolf ordered dozens of industries to shut down physical locations in response to the spread of the coronavirus. He originally said enforcement would begin Saturday, but he delayed enforcement until 8 a.m. Monday in response to a large number of waiver requests.

Pennsylvania State Police said Sunday that private businesses and organizations that don’t comply could face fines and jail time, as well as administrative penalties.

A team of about 50 employees in Davin’s department is reviewing the waiver requests. Staff members review the requests in the order they come in, Davin said.

Davin said the department will notify businesses and law enforcement about waiver approvals, but at this point, the department does not plan to post waiver information publicly on its website.

The online waiver application form asks businesses to justify why they are life-sustaining, how they plan to meet guidelines to maintain employee safety, and how many employees would be in the company’s office or physical location to do the critical work.

Separately, the Wolf administration also continues to review its list of industries considered “non-life sustaining.” The administration updated that list Friday, allowing laundromats, certain manufacturers and others to remain open. House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) is urging Wolf to allow highway construction projects to continue.

Davin said the governor’s office is reviewing that request.

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