Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday issued a stay-at-home order for Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Monroe and Allegheny counties, taking Pennsylvania’s fight against the coronavirus to new levels.
The order requires residents in these counties to remain inside except for essential trips, such as buying food or seeking medical help. While the governor’s order only applies to the specified seven counties and does not immediately directly impact residents in central Pennsylvania, it could be extended to other counties in the likely event COVID-19 cases increase in other regions of the state.
The stay-at-home restrictions took effect at 8 p.m. Monday in the affected areas. The order will be in effect for two weeks. The governor also extended school closures for an additional two weeks. The governor advised that people in the affected counties should not leave their homes unless someone’s life is in danger.
Pursuant to the state’s guidance, allowable activities include:
- Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others. Supplies include food and household consumer products, pet food and supplies necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. This includes volunteer efforts to distribute meals and other life-sustaining services to those in need.
- Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing.
- To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business. The order’s guidance further states that life-sustaining business activities are exempt from this policy, meaning that employees may still come to work at these businesses.
- To care for a family member or pet in another household.
The full order and list of allowable activities can be found here.
Employers in life-sustaining industries may want to consider providing their employees with letters or other documentation of their employment to assist the employees if they are stopped and questioned by authorities.
Philadelphia already has a similar order in effect, issued by Mayor Jim Kenney on Sunday. Under that order, Philadelphians can leave homes to care for family members, friends, or pets in another household, to deliver essential goods, and to report to a job that is related to an essential business. All public and private gatherings of any number of people that occur outside a single household are banned, except for limited exceptions outlined in Kenney’s order. The work of designated “essential businesses” and “essential personnel” continues as before.
Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 website provides updated statistics and news as to the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
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