STAY AT HOME ORDER GUIDANCE
The virus that causes Coronavirus 2019 Disease (“COVID-19”) is easily transmitted, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to protect the ability of public and private health care providers to handle the influx of new patients and safeguard public health and safety. The intent of this STAY AT HOME order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling life-sustaining services to continue.
COUNTIES SUBJECT TO THIS ORDER
The counties subject to this order are set forth in the Governor’s and Secretary of Health’s orders directing individuals to stay home, as amended.
STAY AT HOME
All individuals in counties subject to this order must STAY AT HOME except for certain essential activities and work to provide life-sustaining business and government services.
Individuals may leave their residence ONLY to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:
ALLOWABLE INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITIES
• Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, 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 or their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as getting food and household consumer products, pet food, and supplies necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. This includes volunteer efforts to distribute meals and other life-sustaining services to those in need.
• 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 (see below for details about life-sustaining business activities).
• To care for a family member or pet in another household.
ALLOWABLE ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
• Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities (see below for details about 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.
LIFE-SUSTAINING BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
Life-sustaining business activities are exempt from this order. On March 19, Governor Wolf ordered the closure of the physical locations of businesses that are not critical to sustaining life in a pandemic. Businesses can determine whether they are considered a life-sustaining business, and are therefore allowed to continue in-person, physical operations, by first referring to the Governor’s Order and the list of life-sustaining business which is available here. This list has been updated to conform with guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure issued by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory.
If the answer remains unclear, businesses may email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for further assistance at the following email account: email@example.com. Inquiries will be answered as promptly as possible.
Businesses that are ordered closed but believe they could help mitigate this crisis by providing a life-sustaining service may apply for a waiver to re-open.
This exemption is subject to continuance of and compliance with the social distancing and other mitigation measures to protect employees and the public, including virtual and telework operations (e.g. work from home) as the primary option when available.
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Governments should use best judgment in exercising their authorities and issuing implementation directives and guidance. All such decisions should appropriately balance public health and safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical services and functions. Government employees and contractors should continue to operate under the direction of their supervisors.
INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS
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 from this order and may remain in campus housing.
Additionally, nothing in this order shall be construed to affect the operations of:
• Health care or medical service providers.
• Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including, but not limited to, 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.
• The news media.
• Law enforcement.
• The federal government.
• Religious institutions.
This order takes effect at 8:00 PM on Monday, March 23, 2020, for a period of two weeks, specifically until April 6, 2020.
Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online here.
REMINDER: SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS
When people need to leave their places of residence in conjunction with allowable individual activities, allowable essential travel, or by virtue of exemption from this order, the Pennsylvania Department of Health strongly encourages individuals to abide by the following social distancing requirements to greatest extent reasonably possible:
• Maintain at least six feet from other individuals.
• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer.
• Cover coughs or sneezes with a sleeve or elbow, not hands.
• Do not shake hands.
• Regularly clean high-contact surface areas.
For the most up-to-date, reliable information, please continue to refer to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s website for Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.