Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

Last updated 1:00pm, March 27, 2020

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in

people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

All Pennsylvanians have an important role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. Here are resources to help individuals, families, and businesses do their part.
Keep checking back to the PA Gov website. This guide will be kept up to date as resources and information change.
You can find up-to-date information about cases in Pennsylvania at

General guidance for Pennsylvanians:
Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of
daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential
travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like
groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not
host or attend gatherings.

Allowable Individual Activities
Individuals may leave their residence ONLY to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel. 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 policy. 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: 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.

Are people going to be cited for leaving their homes?
No. People will not be cited for leaving their homes.
Additionally, people are not required to carry written authorization to travel for the
purposes allowed under the order.

How will this order be enforced?
Law enforcement will be focused on making sure that people are aware of the order and
informing the public of social distancing practices.
To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency through
their non-emergency number. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community
of Economic Development to file reports.

What does this order mean for life-sustaining businesses?
Life-sustaining business activities must abide by this order, but they are permitted to
maintain physical operations in support of providing life-sustaining goods and services,
while abiding by social distancing and other mitigation measures to ensure employee
health and safety

The entire commonwealth is now under statewide COVID-19 mitigation. Here is what
statewide mitigation means.
General Guidance
Freedom of travel will remain, but all Pennsylvanians are asked to refrain from non- essential travel.
The Wolf Administration strongly encourages the suspension of large gatherings,
events, conferences of more than 10 people, and per White House guidelines, ask that individuals and groups cancel any gatherings planned over the next eight weeks.
The Wolf Administration encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to
mitigate the spread of illness.

Life-Sustaining Businesses
Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations are now in effect.

Business guidance has been updated after conversations with businesses, stakeholders, and individuals and has been aligned with the  Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory released.

To request a waiver to keep your location open, please submit this form. All decisions will be communicated by email and will balance public health, safety, and the security of our industry supply chains supporting life-sustaining businesses.
Utilities On March 6, 2020, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman signed an emergency order prohibiting terminations by utilities that are under the PUC’s
jurisdiction, including:
Natural Gas
This memorandum is in place for as long as Governor Tom Wolf’s Proclamation of
Disaster is in effect.
If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider for possible
emergency assistance programs.