FACT CHECK: Did Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Mandate Closures For Schools And Workplaces?

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has mandated all schools and workplaces with 20 or more employees close for two weeks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Wolf mandating these measures. The local affiliate mentioned in the post has not published any reports about mandated school or workplace closures.

Fact Check:

The number of known coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 1,000 on March 10 as the outbreak continues to spread worldwide. At press time, Pennsylvania has 2 confirmed and 13 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

A viral post masquerading as a breaking news alert from local affiliate Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News claims the Pennsylvania governor has mandated school and workplace closures in response to the outbreak. The accompanying link to the “full article” leads to a 403 error page.

“ALL schools will be closed for 2 weeks beginning March 12, 2020,” reads the post. “Schools and workplaces with 20 or more employees will resume after 2 weeks of the mandatory closure. A list of all schools and businesses in your area can be found on this list.”

But the Daily Caller found no press releases announcing these mandates on the Pennsylvania governor’s website. Nor did the local affiliate station publish any media reports about them.

“The Wolf Administration is aware of the fake meme,” said Nate Wardle, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Health Department, in an email to the Caller. “It is important that people are getting their coronavirus information from reputable sources, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Health. If a news outlet was to post something like this, it would come from their account.”

Jim Parsons, the news director at Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News, confirmed to the Caller that the local affiliate did not publish the information. (RELATED: Did The WHO Make A Coronavirus Infographic Warning Against Unprotected Sex With Animals?)

“This has nothing to do with us, and we did not post this information anywhere on any platform,” Parsons said. “It’s bogus information that is being spread on social media.”

There have been some school closures and event cancelations across Pennsylvania over concerns about the novel coronavirus. Various colleges, including Bucknell University and the University of Scranton, are moving to virtual instruction, and several cities in the state have cancelled their St. Patrick’s Day parades, according to Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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