PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today voiced dismay at federal inaction on aid to cities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and criticized the President’s questioning of the necessity of stay-at-home orders imposed by municipalities like Philadelphia.
“This is unacceptable,” said the Mayor of the President’s comments. “We recognize that our Stay at Home order will create serious disruptions and economic hardships for tens of thousands of people. But our Health Department and other experts are absolutely certain that ignoring the restrictions will further the spread of this virus. To lift restrictions at this time is the ultimate example of short-sightedness. While doing so may help some businesses stay afloat, the cost in lives and the cost to society will be far greater.”
The Mayor also lamented the lack of action in Congress on COVID-19 response aid, including the request from 303 mayors across the nation for $250 billion in direct aid to cities like Philadelphia. “We know there are many individuals in federal agencies who are working tirelessly with our team to get us the information and resources we need,” said the Mayor. “But leadership has been lacking.”
Health Department Update: Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced 77 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 252, 25 of whom are health care workers. 23 of the confirmed cases are known to be hospitalized.
Health and Human Services: Eva Gladstein, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, today detailed resources that are available for Philadelphians struggling amid the pandemic. “We are focused on supporting those among us who are most vulnerable,” said Gladstein. “We hope that residents know of, and make use of, these valuable resources.”
These resources include:
BenePhilly, a partnership between the City and Benefits Data Trust, is open for business through their Call Center (844-848-4376). This service can help you learn which of 19 public benefits (federal, state, and local) you are eligible for, and assist you with the application.
The City partners with Clarifi to provide one-on-one financial counseling that can help you:
- Develop an emergency financial plan.
- Help you to talk with their lenders, landlords, and credit card companies.
- Find additional resources that might be available.
Call 1-855-FIN-PHIL (346-7445) to schedule an appointment.
Evictions: It is never legal to evict a tenant without a court order. Philadelphia courts are closed through April 3, 2020, and no legal evictions will proceed until they reopen. If your landlord changes your locks, bars your door, cuts off your utilities, removes your possessions, or otherwise forces you out of your home, take the following steps, they are breaking the law:
- Call 911 and report an illegal self-help eviction to the police.
- You can also call the Tenant Hotline 267-443-2500 or refer to www.phillytenant.org for more information.
- File an emergency petition with the Court of Common Pleas.
Also today, Azucena Ugarte, Executive Director, Office of Domestic Violence Strategies, detailed resources for residents who may face domestic issues during the health crisis:
“In this time of uncertainty, victims and survivors of domestic violence may find themselves at higher risk of being hurt,” said Ugarte. “The ‘Stay at Home’ order – along with the possibility of job loss – could cause further stress in some already-difficult domestic situations. I am here to remind you that you are not alone. There are service providers and advocates working tirelessly to make sure services are open for you.”
If you want to file for a Protection From Abuse Order or a PFA, now you have the option to do it by email or by phone from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can email a pre-prepared order to TempPFA@courts.phila.gov. You can find the PFA form here.
If you prefer to file a PFA order by phone, you would have to call the DV Unit between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. The number is 215-686-6311, ext. 19217. If you need to file for a PFA after business hours, that means after 4 p.m. and before 8 a.m. of the next business day, you can file an order at the emergency filing unit in room B-03 (the basement) of the Stout Center at 13th and Filbert Streets.
If you need legal advice related to domestic violence, you can call the Women Against Abuse Legal Center during business hours at 215-686-7082. You will need to leave a message and a safe number for an advocate to call you back.
Hotline: If you want to talk to a domestic violence (DV) advocate about your situation, your options, and planning for your safety and the safety of your children, you can call the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-723-3014 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Other resources for victims of domestic violence:
If you are an immigrant survivor or victim of domestic violence, and would like to talk to an advocate about what specific protections are available for you, you can call the Nationalities Service Center at 215-893-8400 Ext. 1532.
- If you are an African and Caribbean immigrant or refugee, you can contact AFAHO by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For the Southeast Asian communities, you can contact SEAMAAC by calling 215-467-0690 or emailing to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are in need of services for human trafficking victims, you can call the Nationalities Service Center at 215-893-8400 Ext. 1575 or the Salvation Army New Day’s Hotline at 267-838-5866
Health Department Testing: The City, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, is continuing a drive-through site to provide COVID-19 coronavirus testing to identified members of the public. The Community Based Testing Site, located at Citizens Bank Park, will be open daily from 1 to 6 p.m. Services may be curtailed or canceled due to inclement weather.
Testing is strictly limited at this time to those in either of these two categories:
- People who are over 50 years of age AND are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus.
- Healthcare workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, including:
- Hospital and doctors office staff with direct patient contact.
- Nursing home staff with direct patient contact.
- People who perform Emergency Medical Services duties.
- Home healthcare staff with direct patient contact.
For those in either group eligible for testing, entry into the site is only open to people in four-wheel, closed-top, non-commercial, non-recreational vehicles. Walk-ins will not be permitted access to the site.
The City is extending filing and payment dates for Real Estate and some business taxes. The City will honor the federal extensions granted to businesses from the IRS for filing and payments until July 15, 2020 for the Business Income and Receipts Tax and the Net Profits Tax. This policy includes estimated payments.
For commercial and residential property owners who are unable to pay their Real Estate Tax by March 31, the Department of Revenue has extended the deadline to pay an additional 30 days. The due date for 2020 Real Estate Taxes is now April 30, 2020.
The deadline to apply for an installment payment plan for 2020 Real Estate Tax has also been extended until April 30, 2020. These plans have always been available to all seniors and low-income homeowners. Taxpayers who can file and pay their taxes by April 15, 2020 are strongly encouraged to do so. This will help ensure continuity of City and School District operations.
Resources for Businesses: Applications for the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund are now being accepted. The fund is a tiered program providing targeted support for small businesses impacted by the spread of COVID-19 and resulting business closures. It offers a mix of new grants and zero-interest loans for businesses that make under $5 million in annual revenue.
Additional resources for businesses can be found here. The City will also continue to explore additional relief options for businesses of all sizes that are made available through the state and federal government, as well as other sources.
Business owners or managers who have questions about the restrictions in the City’s latest Business Activity and Stay at Home Order can email email@example.com. Restaurants may provide food through delivery or pickup, drive-through, and online or phone ordering only. Walk-in ordering and dine-in services are prohibited. Residents or employees who believe a business is in violation of current restrictions are urged to contact 311.
Construction activity: In response to Governor Wolf ordering a shutdown of construction sites in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections has provided details in this post. All construction work must stop by Friday, March 27, 2020 at 5 p.m. unless a waiver has been obtained from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
Resources for workers have been added to the phila.gov/covid-19 page. A 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.
Parking Restrictions: The Philadelphia Parking Authority reminds drivers that while the Authority is not enforcing kiosk and meter parking violations, they are enforcing and ticketing for safety violations – like blocking fire hydrants or parking in handicapped spaces and loading zones. It is important that people not block any fire hydrants – and not block any loading zones or other restricted parking areas. It is vitally important that motorists park legally and not block access for emergency or other vehicles providing life-sustaining supplies. Unfortunately, if they do – they will be towed from fire hydrants and loading zones.
The PHL COVID-19 Fund, which was launched last week, continues to solicit donations to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic. This fund will deliver grants to nonprofits that are providing urgent resources throughout the Philadelphia region. Individuals and organizations can donate at PHLCOVID19Fund.org.
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. Members of the public can call to get help answering 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.