WARREN – Officials in Pennsylvania have issued a stay-at-home order in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The order, announced by Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday, is like the New York PAUSE initiative where residents are directed to stay home as much as possible.
“This is the most prudent option to stop the spread of COVID-19 across our commonwealth, where cases continue to grow daily,” Gov. Wolf said. “We appreciate the shared sacrifice of all 12.8 million Pennsylvanians; we are in this together and this statewide stay-at-home order is being made after many discussions with multiple state agencies; Dr. Levine; and state, county and local officials as we continue to monitor the most effective ways to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The statewide stay-at-home order takes effect at 8 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 1, and will continue until April 30.
“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,” said officials in a press release. “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.”
Pennsylvania schools will remain closed until further notice and non-life-sustaining business closures remain in effect while essential services will continue, Wolf explained.
State officials say individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable 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 from the order:
- 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, 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.
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