The Wolf administration rejected the request on Friday, though it did for the first time release a list of more than 5,000 businesses that were granted waivers.
The Democratic governor said counties that do so are risking federal stimulus dollars for coronavirus response.
They are particularly at risk of serious complications or death if they get the coronavirus, but if they refuse to work, they could lose their job and unemployment.
Reopening too soon could exacerbate the already devastating death toll in long-term care facilities, experts say.
Similar measures to those envisioned were later put in place, but only after widespread outbreaks were already underway.
The information, published late Friday, only identified which businesses received waivers, falling well short of what the legislature had requested.
The state Supreme Court previously placed a moratorium on such proceedings until May 11, as officials shuttered much of Pennsylvania’s economy to prevent the coronavirus from overwhelming hospitals.
The governor championed government transparency during his campaigns, but now that commitment is being tested.
Instead, the state is focusing on providing personal protective equipment to nursing homes, which have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Health officials said they will rely on a combination of partnerships with local hospital systems, voluntary tracking technology, and federal funding to hire additional staff.
A Harvard estimate says the state should test about 19,000 Pennsylvanians per day — or more than twice the rate of the Wolf administration’s plan.
Dramatic budget cuts or tax increases might be needed if Congress does not send additional, unrestricted aid to states.
The state’s auditor general said he has begun an audit into the controversial process, but won’t release the names of businesses that received a coveted waiver.
The state could need to conduct about 19,000 tests per day and employ as many as 2,000 contact tracers, numbers that far exceed current levels.
Even before the coronavirus, Republicans expressed skepticism about the spending.