Philly Coronavirus News: So What Exactly Can You Do During Philly’s New Stay-at-Home Order?

Yes, you can still go for a walk. No, you cannot play football with your friends in the park.

A pedestrian walks past a boarded up Wine and Spirits store in Philadelphia amid the coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

Mayor Kenney to Philly: Stay Home!

Over the weekend, one Philly Mag reporter drove past a jam-packed basketball court and a bustling public park, where little effort was being made to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus crisis.

It was apparent that the city’s plea for residents to take measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus weren’t really being taken seriously by many. So what does a mayor do in a situation like that? He issues a stay-at-home order.

It’s kind of like when you need your kid to clean her room. You wish that she would just do it without you asking her to do so. Of course, she doesn’t. So you ask her. Nicely. Hey, hon. Your room is kind of messy. How about you get it clean by the end of the day? The next morning, the room still isn’t clean, so you go from a polite suggestion to something a bit more aggressive. Hey hon. I’m going to need you to clean your room this morning before you play Minecraft. By dinnertime, still no clean room. Lila Marie Mitchell: You clean this damn room right now!

Yeah, that’s where we’re at. Mayor Kenney is the parent. We’re the daughter with the messy room. And shit just got real.

So what can you do during Philly’s stay-at-home order until we get through the coronavirus mess?

Well, you can stay home, duh. But you can’t host any backyard barbecues, unless all of the attendees live in your house. You can’t walk down the street and challenge your neighbors to a little football game in the local park. Oh, and we’ve seen a lot of you posting photos of your kids having playdates, doing cute things with groups of their friends. No more. Kenney has nixed all that.

You’re still allowed to leave the house, but only under certain circumstances.

If you need to go to the doctor, you can go to the doctor. Refrigerator empty? You may go grocery shopping. If you work for a business that has been deemed “life-sustaining” by the city and state, you’re allowed to travel to and from work. And if you need a little fresh air, you can still go for walks and hikes, but only if you practice social distancing with anyone who doesn’t live in your home. So you and your kid can even hold hands walking down a trail. But if you see your neighbor walking the other way, maintain social distance.

Philly has also clarified its position on allowing restaurants to continue to do takeout and delivery. Previously, customers were able to go into restaurants, place an order, and then leave with food when it was ready. But now, customers must place all takeout orders in advance — either via phone or online — and can only enter the restaurant once the order is ready.

The city has also asked grocery stores to limit the number of people allowed inside at the same time, so that shoppers have plenty of space between them.

Philly’s stay-at-home order began at 8 a.m. on Monday and continues until… who knows when?

Rite Aid Launching Coronavirus Test Site in Philly

On Sunday, Rite Aid reached out to Philly Mag to let us know that the drug store chain has opened a coronavirus testing site at one of its Philadelphia locations as part of a pilot program.

Rite Aid’s coronavirus testing site opened on Monday in the parking lot of the Rite Aid at 7401 Ogontz Avenue and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Unlike some of the other testing sites in the region, this is specifically for first responders and healthcare workers in direct contact with patients (not necessarily coronavirus patients) in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and other medical facilities.

As for coronavirus testing sites open to general patients, there are currently four in Philadelphia (Penn Medicine in West Philly; Jefferson in Center City; the one next to Citizens Bank Park in South Philly; and another Jefferson location in the Northeast) and five in the ‘burbs (Ambler’s Temple campus, Main Line Health in Newtown Square, Jefferson in Abington, and both Penn Medicine and Main Line Health in Radnor).

Remember: You can’t just show up and get tested. The first step is to call your doctor. You can’t get a test unless you’re approved for a test in advance. Got a runny nose? Just stay home. Don’t overwhelm these testing facilities.

Primary? What Primary?

Remember when all we could talk about was the showdown between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden? Though the whole thing was getting annoying, we’d much, much rather be talking about the two old white guys than the tiny bug that’s taking over the world. But, we are where we are.

The Pennsylvania primary will move from April 28th until June 2nd, thanks to all this coronavirus business. Lawmakers struck a deal over the weekend, and you an expect the announcement to come very soon.

But Hey, Free Parking and More Room on MLK Drive

After the Philadelphia Parking Authority announced that it was relaxing ticketing restrictions, the agency has also opened free parking in some of the PPA-operated garages in Philadelphia.

The PPA garages with free parking are located as follows:

  • Autopark at Independence Garage (5th and Market)
  • Autopark at Fashion District/Gallery Garage (44 North 9th Street)
  • Old City Garage (2nd and Sansom)
  • Parkade Garage (801 Arch Street)

And you know how a portion of MLK Drive closes to cars on weekends in the spring and summer, much to the delight of joggers and bicyclists? Well, the city has decided to shut it down indefinitely so that people can get some exercise while maintaining social distancing.