Wolf Makes Statewide Stay at Home Order Official

| April 1, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf extended his stay at home order to the entire Commonwealth on Wednesday afternoon.

During a press briefing, Wolf reported on Wednesday afternoon that nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases were identified in Pennsylvania since Tuesday’s press briefing.

“It is spreading rapidly,” Wolf stated, noting that COVID-19 is now “in every corner of the state,” and is now in the nursing homes and the prisons.

Because of the continuing spread, Wolf said he has decided to extend his previous stay at home order to every county in the commonwealth until April 30.

The extended order will take effect at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1.

He went on to state that the U.S. Attorney General has recommended that people stay at home across the nation and noted that several states surrounding Pennsylvania have also issued similar orders.

According to Wolf, state officials are optimistic that people will comply with the order.

“People have already stepped up to make it easier for others to stay at home,” Wolf said, going on to note the many instances of volunteers making food deliveries – and even teachers helping to pack and deliver meals for children.

During his statements, Wolf also focused on the importance of slowing the spread of COVID-19 to prevent a surge that could overwhelm hospitals.

“It is up to us to decide if we want to let those numbers skyrocket.”

He also touched on the issue of panic-buying and the hoarding of food, noting that supply chains will remain open and that buying more than necessary only adds stress to the supply chains and limits access for other people.

“This next month will be difficult, but we Pennsylvanians are strong, and we will get through this together,” Wolf concluded.

During follow-up questions, Wolf was asked about enforcement of the order. He replied that as of this point, the state police are focusing on the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses.

“I think we, as Pennsylvanians, are going to do it voluntarily. That is what has happened in counties where this has already happened. I don’t think this will be any different. Individual citizens know this is the right thing to do.”

Wolf went on to say that he believes the stay at home orders have done good things to mitigate the spread of the virus in Pennsylvania.

“The more we do that, the better we enforce it ourselves, the better position Pennsylvania will be in.”

Secretary Rachel Levine echoed some of the same sentiments, stating that following the mitigation and prevention efforts is “critical.”

Under the stay at home order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including 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, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • 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
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth
  • Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel.

The following operations are exempt:

  • Life-sustaining business activities
  • Health care or medical services providers
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders
  • News media
  • Law enforcement, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters
  • The federal government
  • Religious institutions

Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.

International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt and may remain in campus housing.

The Department of Education will be providing updated guidance and resources on the continuity of education for students to schools in the coming days.

At this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number or the nearest Pennsylvania State Police station. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports. Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

Editor’s Note: Chris Rossetti also contributed to this article.

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Category: Local News, News, State News