Note: This story was originally published on LevittownNow.com. It is republished here with additions, with permission.
State officials have recommended that all non-essential retail businesses in Bucks County close as the area enters a 14-day “aggressive mitigation” period designed to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Among them are the county’s 31 state-run wine and spirits stores, which will be open regular hours Sunday and then close until further notice by Monday. Online ordering from the PLCB will be available, however it is likely some residents will travel to other counties to purchase wine and liquor.
The state store in the Creekside Marketplace shopping center in Lower Saucon Township is just a few miles from the Bucks County line, meaning it will be one of the first many travelers reach outside of the coronavirus mitigation zone if they are headed north.
The recommended and state closings are part of a growing effort to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus in Bucks as well as Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties, which are all part of a mitigation zone where Gov. Tom Wolf has recommended that non-essential businesses close for two weeks.
At a 2 p.m. Saturday press conference about Bucks County’s admission into the zone, Wolf said access to state facilities will also be limited during that timeframe.
His office said freedom of travel will remain, but residents are urged to avoid non-essential travel.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations in the four-county area will remain open.
“This is what we’re going to do, and we’re going to do it now,” Wolf said, citing the hope that the 14-day period will keep residents safe.
Officials specifically asked that “business owners for non-essential services consider the well-being of their customers, staff and community when making a decision to close or remain open.”
The governor commended eateries, grocery stores and other businesses that have offered their products with limited person-to-person contact by adding things like delivery service.
The goal behind the mitigation period is to create social distancing. As more COVID-19 cases are confirmed more health care resources will be required to address them, and officials worry the system could become overwhelmed, Wolf said.
State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine urged Pennsylvanians to “stay calm, stay home and stay safe.”
Saturday’s announcement means licensed child care centers and adult daycares in Bucks County will be closed.
All public schools throughout the state will be closed for two weeks starting Monday. Additional guidance to schools was sent to officials by the Pennsylvania Department of Education Saturday afternoon.
State officials made clear that police, fire, emergency medical services and essential services for vulnerable populations will remain in operation.
Wolf has encouraged the suspension of large gathering and events. He also said people may want to stay away from crowded gathering places like gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls.
Bucks County had three COVID-19 cases as of Saturday afternoon. There were no confirmed cases of community spread, according to health officials.
Elsewhere in southeastern Pennsylvania, Chester County had two cases, Delaware County had six cases, Montgomery County had 20 cases, Philadelphia had four cases and Northampton had one case. In total, Pennsylvania had 47 cases among all counties and no COVID-19 deaths, as of Saturday afternoon.
Levine said 150 COVID-19 tests are at labs or on their way to be tested as of Saturday afternoon.