March 13, 2020
All non-essential Delaware County retail businesses are urged to close for at least two weeks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that he is expanding social distancing measures to Delco beginning Saturday. He enacted similar recommendations in Montgomery County on Thursday.
The announcement came hours after Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania schools to close through March 27.
"We're not acting simply for the sake of acting," Wolf said. "We're trying to keep Pennsylvania safe."
Pennsylvania now has 41 coronavirus cases, including 18 in Montgomery County and six in Delco. Bucks County and Philadelphia each have three cases. Chester County has one.
Non-essential facilities include community centers, gyms and entertainment venues. Additionally, no mass gatherings should be held in Delco, including rallies and concerts.
The restrictions will be self-enforced, Wolf said.
"I am not sending out the State Police or National Guard to do this," Wolf said. "All of us are trying to look out for the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians. ... We all have a shared interest. I'm banking on that to really drive this."
Critical infrastructure, including pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations, should remain open. State officials urged residents to avoid eating out, instead recommending they purchase take-out or help support restaurants by buying gift cards.
"Now is not the time for panic," said Gene Barr, CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. "If you're a family of three, you might not need 40 gallons of milk between now and Sunday. Let's not panic. Let's do things that are prudent. Let's do things that make sense."
Pennsylvania officials intentionally have taken a different path than many other states, Wolf said.
Instead of issuing statewide restrictions, Wolf is taking actions in the communities where coronavirus risk is highest.
"In general, what we're trying to do here in Pennsylvania is not just a broad sweep," Wolf said. "We're trying to focus our attention on where the need is. The goal is to keep Pennsylvanians safe.
"Right now, we're under control. We want to stay that way. That's what I'm trying to do."