What you can do and can't do under stay-at-home orders in NJ, Pa., Del. during COVID-19 pandemic

As confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease continues to soar nationwide, U.S. state officials have implemented stay-at-home orders in an effort to mitigate the spread among the public. There are nearly 70,000 cases of the coronavirus in the United States, which has impacted every single state in the union with New Jersey reporting the second highest number of cases behind New York.

New Jersey was the first in the tri-state area to issue a stay-at-home order creating a domino effect with parts  of Pennsylvania and Delaware as a whole following shortly after.

While government officials are advocating that residents stay home as much as possible, one of the major exceptions is that people are allowed to go outside, go to essential businesses, visit close friends and family so long as they maintain social distancing.


The Garden State has been overwhelmingly swept by the COVID-19 disease, which has thousands of cases and scores of deaths. As such, state leaders issued the stay-at-home order on March 21.

More recently, Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey day care providers have until Friday to certify they can and will serve only the children of workers deemed essential during the COVID-19 emergency or face closure.

After resistance to comply with the order was observed, Governor Phil Murphy went on the record Sunday to explain non-compliance would result in penal action. 


“It pains me that important life moments cannot be celebrated the way they are supposed to,” Murphy said when he first issued the order. “Any place where people congregate is a place where coronavirus can be spread.”

New Jersey's stay-at-home order mandates that all non-essential businesses must close indefinitely with no exceptions and residents are ordered not to leave their homes unless they are obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work or engaging in outdoor activities.


The First State officially enacted its stay-at-home order on March 24 with a close of all non-essential businesses in the state until either May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated. 

“If you have any questions about whether you should be staying home or going out, stay home. Go to work, and go straight back home. If you don’t need food or other essential items, stay home," Gov. Carney stated. 

A full list of which industries and businesses are allowed to stay open or must close can be found on the Delaware state government's official website

While some essential businesses are allowed to remain open, a significant portion has restrictions or only allowed to have their employees work from home in order to reduce further exposure or spread of COVID-19. 


As of March 26, 10 counties, which account for half of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents, are under a stay-at-home order

The order requires residents to stay home, except for certain allowable travel or errands for health or safety purposes or going to a job designated as part of a life-sustaining employment sector. Gov. Wolf previously implored residents to take heed of his order to stay at home, but has since implemented non-compliance enforcement action for those who seek to disobey the order. 

The map below illustrates where confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus exist across the world. See mobile version here.


For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.


The Department of Health is giving few details about patients. It is not saying how many samples it is testing, how many negative tests it has taken or how many people it is monitoring under quarantine. It is also not saying where precisely someone traveled when they were exposed.


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