PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Officials have announced the closure of all non-essential businesses in Philadelphia in efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus as the number of COVID-19 cases climbed to nine in the city. The closures will be in effect until at least until March 27.
Mayor Jim Kenney made the announcement in an effort to contain the coronavirus from spreading in the city of 1.6 million people.
“We are aware that this will disrupt life in Philadelphia and we do not make these changes lightly,” he said in an address from City Hall.
In issuing the order, Kenney asked that residents and businesses observe the restrictions, and said he understood that it could have devastating effects on them.
“Our administration is actively developing grant and loan programs aimed at business and job preservation. For now, I urge all businesses and residents to observe these restrictions so that the threat of this virus can quickly be eliminated,” Kenney said.
Only essential commercial establishments should remain open.
— Matt Petrillo (@MattPetrillo) March 16, 2020
Those businesses include:
- Supermarkets and grocery stores
- Big box stores
- Discount stores, mini-markets, and non-specialized food stores
- Daycare centers
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations
- Post Offices
- Laundromats and dry cleaners
- Veterinary clinics for domestic pets and pet stores
Food establishments can stay open taking pick up or delivery orders only.
Dine-in service is not allowed during the restrictions. Officials say if you see a Philadelphia restaurant operating with people dining inside, to call the Philadelphia Health Department at 215-685-7495.
Eyewitness News spoke to two friends at Parc in Rittenhouse Square who went out for one last drink and bite to eat now that all dine-in restaurants in Philly will be closed for at least two weeks.
“Everything is shutting down around us and it’s just sad to see,” Temple grad student Ava Goskicz said.
City government buildings will be shut down but staff members should report to work unless told otherwise by supervisors.
“Individual department heads are currently deciding what operations are essential,” Philadelphia’s managing director Brian Abernathy said.
Health officials believe the changes will help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“I don’t think we’re gonna hit the worst-case scenario. The actions we’re taking today are to prevent the worst-case scenario,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The statewide coronavirus case total is now 77.
The order reflects a move Gov. Tom Wolf has made in Philadelphia’s four heavily populated suburban counties, where most cases of COVID-19 have been found.
CBS3’s Matt Petrillo contributed to this report.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)