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Gov. Wolf Issues Stay-at-Home Order for 7 Counties

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March 24, 2020
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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.

DISCLAIMER: As we face an unprecedented time of legal and business uncertainty, we are working to provide updates on the status of important legal news related to COVID-19. It is important to note that the situation is changing rapidly and the information provided in our alerts is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information contained in our alerts is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. If you have questions about your legal situation or about how to apply information contained in this alert to your situation or about how any other information found on our website may affect your business, you should reach out to one of our attorneys. We assume no responsibility for the accuracy or timeliness of any information provided herein or by any linked site. As information changes rapidly, users are strongly advised to verify any information before relying upon it.


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