The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”
Courts had consistently rejected challenges to Wolf’s power to order businesses to close during the pandemic, and many other governors, Republican and Democrat, undertook similar measures as the virus spread across the country.
Wolf has since lifted many of the restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen and canceling a statewide stay-at-home order.
But over the summer, his administration imposed a new round of statewide pandemic restrictions on bars, restaurants and larger indoor gatherings in response to rising infection rates in some virus hot spots. The state has also imposed a gathering limit of more than 25 people for events held indoors and more than 250 people for those held outside.
A spokesperson for Wolf said the administration was reviewing the decision.
Pennsylvania has reported that more than 145,000 people statewide have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 7,800 people have died.