Nine more counties were added today to the state’s “stay at home” order, including the first two counties in central Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Wolf today added Lancaster and York counties to the directive, as well as Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne and Westmoreland counties. The order takes effect at 8 p.m. today and will remain in place until at least April 6.
“As those [positive COVID-19) numbers increase to a significant level, and we have evidence of community spread . . . the governor issues the order,” said state Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, during a press conference this afternoon. “In those new counties, we were seeing those trends.”
The orders will remain in place until the number of COVID-19 cases plateaus and then begins to decrease, Levine said.
“When it goes down in a significant way, then we’ll discuss that with the governor, and we’ll slowly relax some of the mitigation orders,” she said.
As of today, the state has reported 33 positive COVID-19 cases in Lancaster County and 29 in York County. Neither county has reported a fatality from the disease.
The other counties under this order are Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties
Under the “stay at home” order, people may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable activities and 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:
- 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, 2020 business closure Orders
- News media
- Law enforcement
- The federal government
- Religious institutions
People experiencing homelessness are not subject to the order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals, according to the governor’s office.