PHILADELPHIA – The City today issued a new Stay at Home Order detailing restrictions on business activity in Philadelphia in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These new restrictions take effect tomorrow, Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8 a.m.
“We recognize that these shifting restrictions have caused confusion or uncertainty, and for that we apologize,” said Managing Director Brian Abernathy. “As I’ve said before, there’s no playbook for this situation, and we’re doing our best in light of the evolving health situation.”
Changes in the new Stay at Home Order include:
- The City’s emergency restrictions no longer end on Friday, March 27. To align with the Governor’s order, the City’s order remains in effect “until further notice.”
- Under the order’s Stay at Home provisions, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes permitted by this Emergency Order. This does not apply to activities related to Essential Businesses and Activities or Essential Personal Activities.
- All Philadelphia residents must remain home or at their place of residence unless they are engaged in essential personal activities that are spelled out in the order. Those activities include going out to purchase essential goods and food or seeking medical attention.
- Other permitted activities under the new Stay at Home order include caring for family members, friends, or a pet in another household, delivering essential goods or obtaining emergency services and attention, reporting to their job related to essential business.
- Outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling, operating a wheelchair are permitted under the Stay at Home order.
- The complete list of personal activity restrictions is found in Section 6 of the Order.
- Walk-in takeout orders at restaurants are now prohibited. Only food pre-ordered on the internet or by phone and drive thru ordering are permitted. Food trucks and ice cream trucks are prohibited.
- Grocery stores should discourage leisure or idle conduct by customers and manage store occupancy to allow for social distancing.
- Consistent with the Governor’s Order, the City clarifies that the following are life-sustaining businesses or services: laundromats, veterinary hospitals, pet stores, retail banks (allowing drive-through or limited lobby access), stores that primarily repair cell phones, and bicycle or motorcycle repair shops.
- Emergency household repairs and maintenance are life-sustaining, as are extermination services related to rodents and pests.
- Businesses required to suspend physical operations may only have essential on-site personnel to maintain critical functions, such as security and processing of essential operations that cannot be done remotely.
- The prohibition on clothing manufacturing doesn’t apply to uniforms and apparel required by medical and healthcare professionals and public safety personnel (police officers, firefighters and EMS providers).
- City employees who have been deemed essential and must report to work at a location other than their home, should continue to do so.
- This new Order in no way impacts the delivery of food or essential goods. Truck operators who are part of the supply chain for food and essential goods should know that if all guidelines issued by the CDC are being followed, they are safe to operate trucks and make these deliveries. But again, as noted above, the operation of trucks that serve food is prohibited.
Health Dept. Update: Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced 11 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 96. Sixteen of the 96 are healthcare workers.
At the Community Based Testing Site in South Philadelphia, 165 individuals were tested on Saturday, March 21, 2020, the majority of whom were health care workers.
The City of Philadelphia today filed an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in response to a motion filed yesterday by a group called the “Firearms Policy Coalition,” seeking to block Governor Wolf’s order on life-sustaining businesses. The City filed its brief because, as the State’s most densely populated county, it has a significant interest in enforcement of emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The City contends that the Governor has the authority to impose these restrictions to safeguard the health of residents in the Commonwealth, and we strongly concur with the Governor that gun stores are non-essential and non-life-sustaining. The City also argues that the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses does not unlawfully infringe on Second Amendment rights. “This lawsuit is a needless distraction as officials at the state and city levels throughout Pennsylvania try to stop the spread of this virus,” said Abernathy.
Mayor Kenney today decried recent gun violence in the city in the midst of the pandemic. “There is never a time for violence,” said the Mayor. “But there is no greater time when we need an end to this insanity than now, when a virus threatens the health of each and every resident. That may sound extreme … but these times are quite extreme. To the shooters: Imagine it being your child, your mother, or your grandparent who needs a hospital bed because of the coronavirus — but instead you’re sending someone to the ER with a bullet wound. Think about that before you shoot. This must stop.”
The Mayor also reiterated the importance of standing up against acts of hate and bias against Philadelphia’s Asian community in light of growing fear about COVID-19. He urged those who have been a victim of a hate crime or bias incident to report it to the proper channels. Victims of any crime should call 911 to report it and get further assistance. To report non-emergency hate crimes and bias incidents related to fear of COVID-19, residents should contact the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) at 215-686-4670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Council Update: Council is holding an Appropriations hearing Thursday, March 26 at 9:00 a.m. in Council chambers. They will have one bill on the agenda, and that is the $85 million transfer to the Managing Directors Office to support our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council will move immediately into its Meeting after the hearing and give first reading to the bill. The second reading for final passage will occur on April 2. Since City Hall is closed to the public, the public can submit a comment — on this bill only — to the Chief Clerk’s Office via email. That email is Michael.Decker@Phila.gov. The press and public can watch on Comcast channel 64 or Verizon 40 or stream online at PHLCouncil.com/watch.
Mental Health Resources: Providers are open for substance use treatment and mental health services. The Community Behavioral Health member services call-in center is open for those seeking services or experiencing issues accessing treatment, the hotline number is: 1-888-545-2600. Additional resources are available online.
School Meal Sites: School meal sites and schedules will change beginning Monday, March 23. In addition, Parks & Recreation sites are no longer distributing student meals beginning March 23. More details can be found here.
Resources for workers have been added to the phila.gov/covid-19 page. The blog post will be updated with additional resources as they become available. The post includes a survey for workers affected by COVID-19 to gain more information about the impact.
Residents with questions can call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. The Helpline, free and available 24/7, is staffed by trained healthcare providers and is for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the public and help answer all of their questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Residents can get COVID-19 updates sent to their phones. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive free alerts with information and updates from the Health Department. Information is also being updated daily on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s webpage www.phila.gov/covid-19.
Notes to media: The daily 1:00 p.m. press briefings have moved to a virtual platform, Zoom. Virtual press conferences allow safe social distancing as advised by the CDC and the Philadelphia Department of Health. Members of the media will be able to ask questions through Zoom during the Q&A portion of the briefing.
Due to the volume of press requests related to COVID-19, members of the media are asked to hold all City-related questions for these daily briefings. Reporters will have full access. However, one reporter per media outlet will be permitted to ask questions. In-person attendance at the press conferences is discontinued until further notice. Emailed press questions should go to email@example.com.
To download the plugin needed for Zoom, visit https://zoom.us/download. The platform can be accessed both via smartphones and computers. The link for the Zoom meeting room will be sent daily in the media advisory. We appreciate your patience as we stand up this new platform.
These updates will continue to be live-streamed for the public via the Department of Public Health’s Twitter (@PHLPublicHealth) and Facebook accounts, and broadcast on PHLGovTV, Comcast channels 64 and 1164, and Verizon channels 40 and 41.