Wolf halts dine-in at all Chesco restaurants; two more COVID-19 cases ID’d in county

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Sunday that all Chester County restaurants must end dine-in business immediately, as county officials revealed two more presumed positive COVID-19 cases in the county.

Although all non-essential businesses in the county have been recommended to close for the time being, Wolf issued a mandatory order Sunday, which will remain in effect for at least 14 days. Restaurants are allowed to continue with pick up and delivery business. Similar orders are in place for Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks counties.

“Ensuring the health and safety of Pennsylvanians is the highest priority as the state grapples with a growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and as the virus continues to spread, it is in the best interest of the public to encourage social distancing by closing restaurants and bars temporarily,” Wolf said in a statement. “I understand that this is disruptive to businesses as well as patrons who just want to enjoy themselves, but in the best interest of individuals and families in the mitigation counties, we must take this step.”

Wolf Administration official said they were prepared to use enforcement measures to make sure the order was complied with fully.

The number of reported cases rose to 63 on Sunday, state health officials said, raising the urgency of the public to follow social distancing recommendations.

“Social distancing is essential as more Pennsylvanians are testing positive for COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “By taking these steps now, we can protect public health and slow the spread of this virus.”

Previously, Wolf ordered all schools in the county closed.

Meanwhile, two more cases — a 54-year-old man and a 20-year old woman — have been diagnosed as presumptive positives in East Goshen. That brings the total of presumed positives in the county to four. Presumed positive means a positive test result, but one that has not been formally confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.

As businesses around the county find themselves with difficult and possibly confusing decisions to make about whether to remain open or not, Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline will convene a panel of business and economic development experts for a Telephone Town Hall, designed for all Chester County business owners and managers impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The Telephone Town Hall, scheduled for this Tuesday, March 17t at 10 a.m., will provide updated guidance on “essential services” and, more importantly, provide information about assistance programs that are available to help businesses navigate through these unprecedented times.

Included on the panel are Guy Ciarrocchi, President and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry; Gary Smith, President and CEO of the Chester County Economic Development Council; Pat Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Workforce Development Board; and Mike Murphy, Director, Chester County Department of Emergency Services. 

To register for the Telephone Town Hall, go to www.chesco.org.


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