Pennsylvania orders shut-down of all construction sites

The state of Pennsylvania yesterday ordered work on "non-life-sustaining businesses" to halt immediately, including work at thousands of construction sites in the state, with enforcement actions to begin tomorrow.

This was followed by an order that "no person or entity shall operate a place of business in the Commonwealth that is not a life-sustaining business regardless of whether the business is open to members of the public".

The governor argued that the action was essential to safeguarding "the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians". He said: "This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely."

As of Thursday evening, the state had 185 cases of Covid-19 and one death.

On Monday of this week, the state closed down transport projects with a total value of $6.6bn and shut all state and county building maintenance offices for at least two weeks (see Further reading).

However, a row is brewing over a pipeline expansion project being undertaken by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, intended to transport shale gas to a terminal in Marcus Hook. The commission is arguing that the project is exempt from the shut-down order.

The governor’s office has said exemptions may be granted if there were "extenuating circumstances", however a list produced by the governor’s office appeared to rule out all construction activities.

The Engineering News-Record reported that the General Building Contractors Association in Philadelphia was "actively seeking a grace period for construction projects to ensure that stability and security can be maintained during a temporary shutdown", and asking "whether work for life-sustaining businesses such as hospitals/medical facilities will be permitted to remain operational".

Image: Governor Tom Wolf (Governor’s Office)

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  1. How in the world is a beer distribution center essential , omg unbelievable!!!!!

  2. Doesn’t make sense all construction shut down. But pet stores in Delaware county r open. In some stores 60 to 80 people r in these stores at once plus kids. So it’s a breading ground for the virus. Think our government should look into this.

  3. Mr wolf
    I see you shut down all bussness that pay the great state of Pennsylvania.
    Mr wolf you should suspend fuel taxes. So the people you put out of work can afford to go to doctor store get to drug stores. As we the people ask you to suspend fuel tax

  4. Too short of a notice going to put small business out of business

  5. Companies are putting their production instead of peoples lives and i think its time to put your workers ahead of their dollars.

  6. I live in Pennsylvania and I’m an owner operator truck driver. I feel this governor is overreacting and closing everything he can. I also feel he, obviously, doesn’t like trucks or truck drivers because he shut down the rest areas and kicked out all the trucks and blocked off the parking. He has since reopened them, but only because enough people and groups complained. Trucking is deemed essential, but yet he’s trying to ahut us down. I didn’t vote for him, and I dang sure won’t vote for him again. He’s as bad as the yahoo governor in California. I don’t know how shutting down the whole economy is going to help, all it’s doing is hurting people who just want to work.

  7. What we need is strong leadership in the White House right now. Something we have not had in over 3 years. This man blames everyone but himself. From what I read Trump was told early on about the health risks and he said it would blow over once it got nice weather. But now he lies about that. Can we really believe anything this man says.

  8. It is nice that Gov Wolf is trying to help PA. Too bad that local government is exemping ALL businesses! Local said they are following the law. Police don’t want to do what Gov said!

  9. I need to know why the Philadelphia parking Authority Garages and Lots are still open. We are working as Essential workers they say and it’s crazy. We wanna go home with our families. PPA dont save lives we Assistant customers with any issues they may have entering or existing the Garage. Ticketers , all administrators, tow trucks and booters are home with pay but Lot officers, CSR’s and Security are still working.

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