MEDIA, Pa. - Pennsylvania has undertaken sweeping measures aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, including shuttering all schools in the state for two weeks.
Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all restaurants and bars to close their dine-in facilities in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties, where one-fourth of Pennsylvania’s population lives.
The order came over the governor extended a shutdown order affecting Montgomery County to encompass Delaware, Chester and Bucks counties.
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It prohibits eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars for at least 14 days, but does not bar delivery and drive-through service. The administration will reevaluate the decision after 14 days.
Wolf said his shutdown order will be continually evaluated and could spread to other counties.
A look at what the restrictions entail:
– Higher education, child day cares and adult care centers will be closed for two weeks.
– Gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, government facilities, utilities and mass transit should continue to operate.
– No-visitor policies are to be adopted by prisons and nursing homes.
– Eligible schools may serve meals to low-income students in a non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during the school closure. Delaware County’s Department of Emergency Management is coordinating a distribution plan for its county,
– Non-essential retail facilities were recommended to close. Examples of non-essential businesses include movie theatres, shopping malls and gyms.
– Large gatherings of 250 people or more in the county have been suspended.
– Delaware County courts and government offices will operate with a reduced and staggered staff. Juror trials will be discontinued. discontinue juror trials.
“Residents should not be panicking,” said Delaware County Counci Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “The goal is to prevent of the spread of the virus. Limiting unnecessary social outings like going to the movies, the gym, clothes shopping, etc. is how we can accomplish this.”
County officials also stressed that "if it’s not essential to be out, please stay home."
Wolf said a special election scheduled Tuesday in Bucks County will be postponed, but there is no agreement yet on a new date.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced a “phased closure” of wine and spirit stores in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties to help slow the spread of the virus.
His administration is trying to connect businesses to financial assistance that might help offset the impact of closing, it said.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is urged to call the State Health Department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.