In an effort to force small business owners to conform with his state-mandated shutdown, the governor of Pennsylvania has sent out an ominous threat.
On Thursday, NBC 10 in Philadelphia reported that Democrat Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced all non-life sustaining businesses in the state must close or face penalties including fines, not being able to apply for aid under new stimulus plans, the potential loss of their businesses, or even possible jail time.
A state of lockdown
The actions we are seeing being taken are unlike anything we have ever seen in our nation’s history. At first, businesses were asked to simply abide by social distancing guidelines, but that has changed to mandated shutdowns for all “non-essential” businesses — at least in Pennsylvania.
Initially, businesses that encouraged social gatherings, such as entertainment venues, were targeted. Now, virtually all commerce in the state is grinding to a halt.
Indeed, under the new Pennsylvania mandate, businesses like hair salons, insurance brokers, and real estate offices are all being told to shut their doors until further notice.
Farms and their suppliers, medical equipment manufacturers, health care providers, gas stations, auto part stores, and building materials stores are all exempt. Restaurants are also able to continue to offer “to-go” service, but everyone else must shut down or face penalties, the governor said.
Today I’m taking decisive action to stop the spread of #COVID19 by ordering all non-life-sustaining businesses to close by 8 p.m.
Enforcement actions against businesses that don’t close will begin Saturday and could include citations, fines & license suspensions. pic.twitter.com/WSd5weA93b
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) March 19, 2020
The impact on small business owners
While the federal government is putting economic stimulus measures into play, there is still real concern over how small businesses are going to be impacted on the other side of this.
Even if there is financial help from the government, it is unlikely to equal what most of these businesses are making. For many small business owners, especially in the restaurant industry, the loss of that income could result in their businesses being permanently shuttered.
President Donald Trump has been offering a hopeful message that everyone will come out intact on the other side of this, but the longer this shutdown goes on, the less likely that is to happen.
This is why it is more important than ever for everyone to follow the guidelines being set forth by health officials to prevent the spread of this virus so the crisis will be over sooner rather than later.
It is not just our health on the line, but also the future economy of the entire country.