Philadelphia is issuing a new “stay at home” order for all residents starting at 8 a.m. Monday, the city’s managing director Brian Abernathy said Sunday.
The city’s emergency restrictions will no longer expire on March 27, and will remain in effect “until further notice,” Abernathy said.
The order also bans all public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household except for limited purposes, including shopping for or delivering essential goods, going to work at an essential business, and exercising while maintaining social distancing.
Walk-in takeout orders will also be prohibited, and food and ice cream trucks will not be allowed to operate. All to-go food orders must be paid online in advance. Food delivery services can also continue.
“Stay home,” Abernathy said. “Now is not the time for a meetup in a parking lot, a party or a basketball game.”
During a statewide update, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine could not say with certainty if stricter restrictions like the ones in Philadelphia were coming statewide.
“Discussions are being had with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, with PEMA, with local officials, and of course, with the governor’s office on the possibilities of ‘stay at home’ or ‘shelter in place,’” said Levine. “So I don’t have any new information at this time except that conversations are occurring.”
Still, she emphasized that a shelter-in-place order would still allow people to go out and purchase food and other essentials.
Managing Director Brian Abernathy:— Billy Penn (@billy_penn) March 22, 2020
There is now a new "stay at home" order for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, taking effect Monday at 8 a.m.
Also, Philly's emergency restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.
Pa. state troopers will enforce business closures
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported an additional 108 COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 479 known positives.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine said since the start of the outbreak some 47 COVID-19 cases in the state have required hospitalization — roughly 10% — and there’s no indication the number of cases has peaked anywhere in the state.
The update came as Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick said state troopers were ready to enforce the governor’s order to close all “non-life sustaining” businesses.
Evanchick said troopers would make every effort to achieve voluntary compliance.
“But our message is clear: COVID-19 is a serious health and public safety risk that requires an extraordinary response from law enforcement and the public,” he wrote in a statement. “I urge everyone to stay home, stay calm and stay safe.”
Citing the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, Evanchick said those violating the governor’s order could face fines and even jail time.
Enforcement of the order was pushed to Monday at 8 a.m. after confusion over what counted as life sustaining was followed by a wave of businesses seeking exemptions.
On Sunday, officials reported almost 10,000 waivers were filed with the state.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, health department and Department of agriculture will also enforce the order.
N.J. residents ordered to stay home
Only essential businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores — were allowed to open Sunday morning, after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all other businesses to close their doors by 9 p.m. Saturday and banned public gatherings. Those who flout the rules may be charged by law enforcement, Murphy said.
Murphy’s executive order requires residents to keep six feet apart while in public, with exceptions made for romantic partners, household members and caretakers.
While New Jersey is the first state to order residents to stay indoors, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has similarly ordered all “non-life sustaining” businesses to close. However, confusion over what counted as life sustaining was followed by a wave of businesses seeking exemptions, which has pushed enforcement of that order to Monday at 8 a.m.
Delaware Gov. John Carney ordered the state’s beaches and boardwalks closed Saturday.
“For every person infected with COVID-19, they typically infect two to three additional people,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, in a statement. “That’s why the steps that Gov. Carney has taken to close schools, restaurants and bars, recreational facilities and beaches is so important. We need to take these steps to prevent widespread outbreaks and slow the spread of the virus.”
Delaware reported two new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 47.
Testing sites open in Philly, Montco, New Jersey
With drive-thru testing sites opening this week in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, officials expect the number of COVID-19 cases to rise.
Philadelphia opened a testing site at Citizens Bank Park on Friday and another opened at Montgomery County’s Temple University campus in Ambler on Saturday. (Here’s a primer on how and where to get tested in the Philly area from WHYY’s Billy Penn).
New Jersey launched a drive-thru testing site in the epicenter of its outbreak in Bergen County.
That site reached testing capacity early Sunday, according to Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. The Bergen County Community College site will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, the same day a second drive-thru site is slated to open at Monmouth County’s PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.
Due to a nationwide shortage of personal protective gear, health care workers in the region have asked the public for masks and other donations.
“We are desperate for more PPE equipment, personal protective equipment,” Murphy said Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’ve had a big ask into the strategic stockpile in the White House they’ve given us a fraction of our ask.
“We are as a state — private sector, public sector, nonprofits — turning over every stone, but we need a lot more PPE both to protect our healthcare workers and to treat the sick.”
Hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have also worked to make room for an influx of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.