Mayor Jim Kenney blasts President Trump's comments; urges Philadelphia residents to stay home

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Mayor Kenney urges Philadelphians to stay at home
Mayor Kenney urgesd Philadelphians to stay at home as the number of coronavirus cases grows.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney began Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing by directly addressing President Donald Trump's comments about the social distancing measures being taken across the country as the pandemic grows.

Those comments included a tweet on Tuesday morning in which the president suggested that social distancing measures could be maintained even as workers returned to their jobs.


Philadelphia and the surrounding suburban counties are under a stay at home order, and only essential or life-sustaining businesses are allowed to remain open.

Kenney said he and his administration recognize that the stay at home order will "create serious disruptions and economic hardships for tens of thousands of people."

"But our Health Department and other experts are absolutely certain that ignoring the restrictions will further the spread of this virus. To life restrictions at this time is the ultimate example of short-sightedness," he said.

"While doing so may help some businesses stay afloat, the cost in lives and the cost to society will be far greater," Kenney said.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said leadership from the top has been "lacking," in terms of the COVID-19 response.

Philadelphia officials announced Tuesday that the number of positive COVID-19 cases increased by 77 since Monday afternoon, with the total now reaching 252 patients.

Philadelphia Stay-at-Home Order

Philadelphia's stay-at-home order went into effect at 8 a.m. Monday.

Mayor Jim Kenney issued the stay-at-home order on Sunday, as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the city and the commonwealth.

What does a stay at home order mean?

Kenney said it didn't seem that people were taking his request to stay home seriously and that he wanted "to ramp up the level of concern so people will get it in their heads that this is a serious epidemic and they need to stay home."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is issuing a stay-at-home order to keep people from leaving home, except to get food, seek medical attention, exercise outdoors, go to a job classified as essential or other important errands that involve personal and public safety.

If officers encounter situations of willful non-compliance, they will take appropriate action.

The order does include some exceptions.

Changes in the new Stay at Home Order include:

  • The City's emergency restrictions no longer end on Friday, March 27. To align with Gov. Wolf's order, the City's order remains in effect "until further notice."
  • Under the order's stay at home provisions, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes permitted by the emergency order. This does not apply to activities related to essential businesses and activities or essential personal activities.
  • All Philadelphia residents must remain home or at their place of residence unless they are engaged in essential personal activities that are spelled out in the order. Those activities include going out to purchase essential goods and food or seeking medical attention.
  • Other permitted activities under the new stay at home order include caring for family members, friends, or a pet in another household, delivering essential goods or obtaining emergency services and attention, reporting to their job related to essential business.
  • Outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling, operating a wheelchair are permitted under the stay at home order.
  • Walk-in takeout orders at restaurants are prohibited as part of the stay at home order. Only food pre-ordered on the internet or by phone and drive-thru orders are permitted. Food trucks and ice cream trucks are prohibited.
  • Grocery stores should discourage leisure or idle conduct by customers and manage store occupancy to allow for social distancing.
  • Consistent with the Governor's Order, the City clarifies that the following are life-sustaining businesses or services: laundromats, veterinary hospitals, pet stores, retail banks (allowing drive-through or limited lobby access), stores that primarily repair cell phones, and bicycle or motorcycle repair shops.
  • Emergency household repairs and maintenance are life-sustaining, as are extermination services related to rodents and pests.
  • Businesses required to suspend physical operations may only have essential on-site personnel to maintain critical functions, such as security and processing of essential operations that cannot be done remotely.
  • The prohibition on clothing manufacturing does not apply to uniforms and apparel required by medical and healthcare professionals and public safety personnel (police officers, firefighters and EMS providers).
  • City employees who have been deemed essential and must report to work at a location other than their home, should continue to do so.
  • The Mayor's Office said this stay at home order in no way impacts the delivery of food or essential goods. Truck operators who are part of the supply chain for food and essential goods should know that if all guidelines issued by the CDC are being followed, they are safe to operate trucks and make these deliveries. But again, as noted above, the operation of trucks that serve food and ice cream trucks are prohibited.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is issuing a stay-at-home order to keep people from leaving home, except to get food, seek medical attention, exercise outdoors, go to a job classifie

Mayor Jim Kenney also announced the decision to postpone the city's annual Broad Street Run. The tentative date will be set for October 4.

Drive-thru Testing

The City, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, is continuing a drive-through site to provide COVID-19 coronavirus testing to identified members of the public. The Community Based Testing Site, located at Citizens Bank Park, will be open daily from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Inclement weather could force the hours to be curtailed.

Since opening on Friday, March 20, 2020, 396 tests have been conducted at the site. Testing is strictly limited at this time to those in either of these two categories:

- People who are over 50 years of age and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus.

- Healthcare workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, including:

  • Hospital and doctors office staff with direct patient contact
  • Nursing home staff with direct patient contact
  • People who perform Emergency Medical Services duties
  • Home healthcare staff with direct patient contact

Another testing site opened Monday at the Rite Aid on the 7400 block of West Oak Lane.

Officials say the only people who can be tested at this site are first responders and healthcare workers. The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Residents can get COVID-19 updates sent to their phones. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive free alerts with information and updates from the Health Department. Information is also being updated daily on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's webpage