PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is issuing a stay-at-home order to keep people from leaving home, except to get food, seek medical attention, exercise outdoors, go to a job classified as essential or other important errands that involve personal and public safety.
The order aims to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as the city sees a rise in positive COVID-19 cases.
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Kenney said people didn’t seem to take his request to stay home seriously, and he wanted “to ramp up the level of concern so people will get it in their heads that this is a serious epidemic and they need to stay home.”
People, he said, were still going to things like parties, picnics and barbecues.
The city’s managing director, Brian Abernathy, said Philadelphia would not be under marshal law, although officers might intervene to break up large groups of people and send them home.
Banned are public and private gatherings outside a single household, except for limited exceptions, such as businesses deemed essential by the city.
Also banned are walk-in takeout orders at restaurants, as are food trucks and ice cream trucks. Only food pre-ordered on the internet or by phone and drive-through ordering are permitted, Kenney’s office said.
Residents are allowed to engage in outdoor activities such as walking, running and cycling.
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round magenta objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)
Kenney urged grocery stores and other essential businesses to discourage idling and manage store occupancy to allow for social distancing.
The mayor also clarified that life-sustaining services include: laundromats, veterinary hospitals, retail banks, cellphone repair, bike repair, emergency household repair, and extermination services for rodents and pests.
Wolf has already ordered schools shut through March, at least, and asked residents to stay home, even before he ordered non-life-sustaining businesses to close to avoid spreading the virus. Levine has even discouraged parents from letting their children have play dates.
The city’s emergency restrictions no longer end on Friday, March 27. To align with Gov. Tom Wolf's order, the city’s order remains in effect until further notice.
The stay-at-home order can be read in full here.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.