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Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine at a coronavirus briefing

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine have issued a statewide stay-at-home order for the state of Pennsylvania to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The stay-at-home order began at 8 p.m. on April 1 and will continue until April 30. All essential state services will continue to operate, including healthcare providers, childcare facilities, news media, law enforcement, and religious institutions. 

“This statewide stay-at-home order is not just to protect ourselves from exposure to COVID-19, but it protects those on the front lines,” Levine said in a press briefing. “Our doctors, nurses, police, fire, EMTs need us to do this.”

On March 23, Wolf issued stay-at-home orders for seven counties in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. Now, all 67 Pennsylvania counties will have to close schools and shut down non-essential businesses until further notice. 

Wolf and Levine called on Pennsylvania residents to leave home only when necessary, such as to get supplies, receive medical attention, or care for relatives. Outdoor exercise is permitted, but the government asks that social distancing of six feet be maintained.

In the press briefing, Wolf said he appreciates the efforts Pennsylvanians are making to slow the spread of COVID-19. He added that the decision to implement the statewide order was made after discussions with state, county, and local officials.

“This is the most prudent option to stop the spread of COVID-19 across our commonwealth, where cases continue to grow daily,” Wolf said.

On March 19, California became the first state to implement a stay-at-home order for its residents. As of April 2, all but 12 states have told residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary, according to The New York Times.