Pennsylvania extended its “stay-at-home” directive to Erie County Tuesday evening, making a total of eight counties in the state that are now under Gov. Tom Wolf’s lockdown instructions.
Counties in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas were placed under the order on Monday in an attempt to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wolf’s order cites the governor’s power, under a declaration of disaster emergency, to “control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area and the movement of persons within it.”
In order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, Wolf is exercising that power to order residents to remain in their homes except for certain vital activities and essential travel, according to his office.
This includes acquiring food, medicine and medical care, and supplies needed to work from home, or to provide products or services to a business considered essential under Wolf’s business closure order that began last week.
Outdoor activities and exercise are permitted as long as appropriate social distancing is maintained. Travel is also permitted in order to care for the elderly, children, and/or the disabled, to acquire educational materials for distance learning, and other exceptions.
Homeless people 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.”
Although legally enforceable, Wolf’s announcement Tuesday said “at this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement.”
The counties now subject to Wolf’s stay-at-home order constitute roughly three-quarters of the 851 known COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania.