All individuals in counties subject to this policy must STAY AT HOME except for certain essential activities and work to provide life-sustaining business and government services.

In an announcement, Governor Wolf thanked each and every one for doing their part to save lives in this fight. He stated, “I know it hasn’t been easy, but with your support, we will get through this and move forward together”.


Allowable Activities and Travel
Allowable Individual Activities

Individuals may leave their residence ONLY to perform any of the following allowable individual
activities and allowable essential travel.

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, or to
    deliver those services or supplies to others, such as getting food and household consumer
    products, pet food, and supplies necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential
    operation of residences. This includes volunteer efforts to distribute meals and other life-sustaining services to those in need.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing.
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business (see below for details about life-sustaining business activities).
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household.


  • Allowable Essential Travel
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities (see below for details about life-sustaining business activities).
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction.
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth.
  • Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel.




Life-sustaining Business Activities

Life-sustaining business activities are exempt from this policy. On March 19, Governor Wolf ordered the closure of the physical locations of businesses that are not critical to sustaining life in a pandemic.

Businesses can determine whether they are considered a life-sustaining business, and are therefore
allowed to continue in-person, physical operations, by first referring to the Governor’s Order and the list of life-sustaining business which is available here. This list has been updated to conform with guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure issued by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory.

If the answer remains unclear, businesses may email the Department of Community and Economic
Development (DCED) for further assistance at the following email account: Inquiries
will be answered as promptly as possible.

Businesses that are ordered closed but believe they could help mitigate this crisis by providing a life-sustaining service may apply for a waiver to re-open. This process will close on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:00 PM.

This exemption is subject to continuance of and compliance with the social distancing and other mitigation measures to protect employees and the public, including virtual and telework operations (e.g. work from home) as the primary option when available.


State and Local Governments

Governments should use best judgment in exercising their authorities and issuing implementation
directives and guidance. All such decisions should appropriately balance public health and safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical services and functions. Government employees and contractors should continue to operate under the direction of their supervisors.


Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this policy but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.


Displaced Students

International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt from this policy and may remain in campus housing.


Additional Guidance

Additionally, nothing in this policy shall be construed to affect the operations of:

  • Health care or medical service providers.
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including, but not limited to, food banks.
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders.
  • The news media.
  • Law enforcement.
  • The federal government.
  • Religious institutions.


Frequently Asked Questions


How is a Stay at Home order different than previous mitigation efforts?

Previously our focus was placed on institutions (education, businesses, etc.). People were encouraged to stay at home and non-life-sustaining businesses and schools were ordered to close.

While those focuses continue, this effort focuses on individuals. We want to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their homes to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling life-sustaining services to continue.

How does this order compare to those made in New Jersey, Ohio, and other states?

Other states have made statewide orders. At this point, Pennsylvania’s Stay at Home order is limited to counties where community spread is assumed.

Pennsylvania’s order is also through at least April 30, whereas the orders in other states may vary in duration.

Pennsylvania has already taken action to close the physical locations of non-life-sustaining businesses, which is part of many of the other state’s orders.

Does this align with Philadelphia’s Stay at Home order?

The orders are compatible.

Are people going to be cited for leaving their homes?

No. People will not be cited for leaving their homes.

Additionally, people are not required to carry written authorization to travel for the purposes allowed under the order.

How will this order be enforced?

Law enforcement will be focused on making sure that people are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices.

To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency through their non-emergency number. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community of Economic Development to file reports.

What does this order mean for life-sustaining businesses?

Life-sustaining business activities must abide by this order, but they are permitted to maintain physical operations in support of providing life-sustaining goods and services, while abiding by social distancing and other mitigation measures to ensure employee health and safety.

Are people permitted to travel and do they need an official letter or notification to travel?

Individuals are permitted to travel:

  • To return home from an outside jurisdiction including out of state.
  • As required by a law enforcement court order.
  • To perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety for themselves, their households or household members (including pets).

Official letters or notifications are NOT required to travel.

What does this mean for county and local governments?

Governments should use their best judgment in exercising their authorities and issuing implementation directives and guidance.

All such decisions should appropriately balance public health and safety, while ensuring the continued delivery of critical services and functions. Government employees and contractors should continue to operate under the direction of their supervisors.

How does this order affect the order to close non-life-sustaining businesses?

The Stay at Home order builds on our previous efforts. For now, it is targeted to specific counties where community spread is assumed. The governor’s and Secretary of Health’s existing orders regarding business closures remain in full effect.

Does the governor’s Stay at Home order affect child custody orders?

No, the governor’s Stay at Home order does not change or overrule custody orders or agreements. Those orders will continue to govern where the child will reside.

More broadly, a parent should not use the crisis as an excuse to violate court-ordered custody arrangements. If you feel you have an emergency reason (compromised health, etc.), the courts are open for emergency petitions.


See Governor Wolf’s order and the Secretary of Health’s order.

Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online here.