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Schools and places of business in the Lehigh Valley are closed. Events have been postponed; some events have been canceled. All due to the quest to stall the spread of COVID-19.

Readers of the Salisbury Press expected to look at this week’s issue and see additional photos of “Into the Woods” at Salisbury High School on the front page. The play, scheduled to open last week, has been postponed to a later date due to the closure of Pennsylvania schools as directed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wolf announced March 13 all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective March 16.

“First and foremost, my top priority as governor - and that of our education leaders - must be to ensure the health and safety of our students and school communities,” Wolf said. “As such, I am ordering that all schools in the commonwealth close for the next two weeks.”

Wolf said his administration has been working with school districts, as well as state and local officials, to gather input on this decision and will continue to monitor COVID-19 in the commonwealth.

At the end of 10 days, Wolf said he and his administration will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is needed.

Statewide, the Wolf administration “strongly encourages the suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of 250 individuals or more; discourages individuals from traveling to recreational activities like gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls, encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to mitigate the spread of illness; initiated a no-visitor policy at all state correctional facilities and nursing homes to ensure the safety of inmates, residents, staff and visitors; restricted visitors in state centers effective today to ensure health and safety for individuals with an intellectual disability and restricted visitors in assisted living and personal care homes to minimize exposure to our seniors and individuals with disabilities.”

“I want to personally thank everyone for doing their part in helping contain COVID-19,” Wolf said March 14.

“And while people are free to travel, I ask that everyone refrain from non-essential travel. We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The time to do this is now. We cannot wait.

“Essential services – police, fire and emergency medical services, public transportation, essential services for vulnerable populations such as our facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and autism – will still be operational,” Wolf said. “Supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open, but we do recommend that non-essential retail facilities close.”

At The Press, we are doing our best to provide you with the most up-to-date listings of closures, postponements and cancellations. A full listing of closures as of March 16 can be found in our Focus section this week. Please understand the list is changing hourly.

We will continue to cover meetings and events as long as they are held.

The Press office, as of this printing, is scheduled to remain open, although we are no longer accepting walk-in customers to the office in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and some staff will be working from home. If new developments occur, we will inform our readers as soon as possible.

Copyright 2020