Mayor Kenney releases “Safer at Home” plan and executive order outlining how the City will safely reopen the economy and continue to combat the COVID-19 epidemic
PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today unveiled Safer at Home, a plan and executive order outlining the strategy for how Philadelphia will begin to reopen for business when the current Stay-at-Home Order is lifted, which is expected to occur on Friday, June 5, 2020.
On May 22, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf announced that effective June 5, Philadelphia County will be permitted to ease movement and business restrictions consistent with the “Yellow” phase in his Process to Reopen Pennsylvania.
“Philadelphia must approach the next phase of the COVID-19 epidemic in a way that balances the risks of the virus with the public health risks caused by further social and economic damage from movement and business restrictions,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Our strategy allows economic and social activity to gradually resume in a way that continues to suppress the virus and keep as many Philadelphians as safe and healthy as possible.”
The City will focus efforts on proven strategies that are containing COVID-19 in other countries. These include:
- Containment: A combination of rapid case identification, case isolation, contact tracing, and contact quarantine.
- Social Distancing: Some businesses and activities that were previously considered non-essential will begin restart based on risk level; a safety checklist of precautions tailored to the specific activity and setting will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they reopen. Residents are advised that they are “safer at home.”
- Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Philadelphia will emphasize protections for disproportionately impacted populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, people in congregate care, and those who are elderly or have chronic medical conditions.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley added, “The path forward must be solidly based on science, available evidence about how the virus behaves, and a cautious approach that acknowledges the many things we do not yet know about COVID-19. By focusing on containment, social distancing, and protecting vulnerable populations, we can safely allow some businesses and activities that were considered nonessential during the Stay-at-Home Order to restart.”
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health continues to advise residents that they are “safer at home,” and should only leave to engage in essential activities. This is true for everyone, and even more so for Philadelphians who: are 65 years old or older; have certain health conditions (such as asthma, chronic lung disease, heart conditions, diabetes, severe obesity, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, or a compromised immune system); or live with or care for someone who is 65 years old or older or who has health conditions.
Lower-risk activities permitted to operate within certain parameters during the Safer-at-Home Order (Yellow Phase) include:
- Restaurants (including food trucks and walk-up ordering, no dine-in service)
- Retail businesses (curbside and delivery are strongly encouraged)
- Child care centers
- Outdoor youth day camps and recreation
- Outdoor parks-related amenities
- Office-based businesses (telework still required whenever feasible)
- Consumer banking
- Automobile sales
- Real estate activities
- Warehouse operations
The risk levels of different businesses and activities were assessed based on: the potential for transmission of COVID-19; the number of people who could become infected; and the likelihood of fatalities, considering a number of factors that are outlined in the Safer at Home plan.
Continued Precautions: As they restart, businesses will be required by the Safer-at-Home Order to follow a safety checklist of operations called “Safe Mode” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Safe Mode includes precautions tailored to the specific activity and setting, but contains eight common elements for any business operating in the City of Philadelphia: 1) Masking; 2) Creating physical barriers; 3) Isolating people who may carry the virus; 4) Creating distance between people; 5) Reducing crowds; 6) Hand washing; 7) Cleaning surfaces; and 8) Communicating with staff and customers. Additional recommendations for different types of businesses and activities are detailed in a separate set of industry-specific guidelines available here. Guidance on outdoor dining will be shared next week.
Employees or customers that want to report possible health and safety violations in the workplace related to COVID-19 can contact 311. Businesses should be aware that violations could result in fines, penalties and license suspension.
City Government Operations: The City will implement a “Safe Return to Work” program as it brings employees back to work in a phased manner, based on a prioritized schedule that aligns with City and State guidelines while minimizing the potential for the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The public should not expect that on June 6 public-facing City services will commence. As we move through the Yellow phase more public-facing services will begin.
Some examples include, expanded deed recording, limited functions within the Municipal Services Building concourse like bill payments, as well as some adjudicative boards like the Tax Review Board. Many of these in-person interactions will function by appointment only, with limited hours due to the need for staggered shifts and social distancing, as well as virtually. Universal masking will be required for employees and the public accessing these services. Additionally, many City departments and functions will continue to be done remotely for City employees and virtually for the public. Universal masking will be required for employees and the public accessing these services. Additionally, many City departments and functions will continue to be done remotely for City employees and virtually for the public.
Mayor Kenney reminded Philadelphians that combatting the COVID-19 crisis is a shared responsibility for all. “As Philadelphia and the surrounding region begin to enter a phased reopening, it is on all of us—residents, government officials and agencies, businesses, health care providers, and more—to ensure our city is able to make a full recovery.
“The City is committed to emerging from this months-long shutdown as quickly as possible, but we need everyone to do what is right and continue following the guidance provided by the Department of Public Health. It is clear that the work of Philadelphians thus far has put us in a much safer position than we were in just two months ago. But we are not out of the woods yet; COVID-19 is still present in our communities and poses a real threat if we don’t take things seriously as the city reopens. To successfully navigate the next phase of our recovery, we need all Philadelphians to embrace the shared responsibility we all have at this critical moment in our city’s history.”
To learn more about the City’s Safer-at-Home Plan, visit phila.gov/safer-at-home.
Case Counts: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 255 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 22,405.
The Department of Public Health noted progress in congregate settings, including nursing homes and the Department of Prisons. No additional inmates have tested positive. The current total of positive cases at correctional facilities is two. Current and cumulative totals of positive cases in Philadelphia prisons are now posted on the testing and data page of the City’s COVID-19 website.
The Department of Public Health confirmed 20 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This means the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia stands at 1,278. Of the 1,278 total deaths, 678 (53%) were long-term care facility residents. (Please note that the cumulative total of fatalities has decreased by one since yesterday, as an earlier death had been classified as COVID in error).
The Department of Public Health reports 469 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 912 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).
June Virtual Updates on COVID-19 Coronavirus Response: Starting Monday, June 1 the City will only hold COVID-19 briefings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for members of the media. Press releases will be distributed daily, Monday through Friday.
Testing Site Map: A new testing site finder at phila.gov/testing helps people find a free COVID-19 test in Philadelphia. Anyone can search for a site by address, click on a map location for specific site information, and filter by day of week and by drive-thru or walk-up.
Each of the testing sites has its own requirements, and that information is included for each location on the map. For example, some sites require referrals, appointments, or certain criteria for patients. No sites require payment, insurance, or proof of citizenship. Residents are strongly encouraged to call first for an appointment or referral; all necessary phone numbers are available on the map.
The finder is available in six languages, and the map will continue to be updated as new testing sites are opened.
Expanded Testing Standards: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is recommending COVID-19 coronavirus testing for anyone, regardless of age, who meets this criteria:
- Known or suspected exposure within the last seven days.
- A new cough, new shortness of breath, or two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, new loss of taste or smell.
The expansion of testing recommendations comes as a result of the increasing availability of coronavirus testing at public health and commercial laboratories. Increased testing for the coronavirus is a key part of the City’s and Pennsylvania’s plan to re-open safely.
- City’s COVID-19 homepage: phila.gov/covid-19.
- COVID-19 resources translated into multiple languages.
- Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline: 1 (800) 722-7112.
- Residents can text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to get updates sent to their phones.
- Find out more about testing for COVID-19.
- Businesses with questions about the applicability of the new Safer-at-Home Order’s guidelines to their operations should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The PHL COVID-19 Fund continues to solicit donations to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic.
Resources for Media: