The City of Philadelphia announced this afternoon that starting at 5 p.m., businesses deemed “non-essential” will close to the public until at least March 27 in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Only essential establishments will be allowed to remain open including businesses like grocery stores, big-box stores and daycares. Stores selling specific products outlined on the City’s website will also be allowed to remain open.
The full list of businesses that will remain open include:
- Supermarkets and grocery stores
- Big box stores
- Discount stores, mini-markets and non-specialized food stores
- Daycare centers
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations
- Post offices
- Laundromats and dry cleaners
- Veterinary clinics for domestic pets and pet stores
Food establishments will only be allowed to fulfill orders online or via the phone and must stick to delivery or pick-up service. Dining in is not allowed at this time, the City said.
Non-essential city services are also suspended and City buildings will be closed to the public starting Tuesday, March 17. Essential operations will include public safety, health and human services, utilities, sanitation and payroll, the City said.
“These changes are not made lightly, and we are well aware of the potentially devastating effect they will have on the businesses and workers of Philadelphia,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
To ease the financial burden placed on businesses during this time, the administration and PIDC are launching a program to support local businesses, help maintain payroll obligations and preserve jobs impacted by the spread of the virus. It will be a tiered program that focuses on small businesses and will include a mix of new grants and zero-interest loans for Philadelphia businesses that make under $5 million in annual revenue, the City said. More details about the program will be announced in the coming days.
In addition, it has launched a survey for the business community to better understand its needs during the pandemic.
“This is an unprecedented challenge for businesses — large and small — around the country,” the City said in an email distributing the survey. “The situation remains extremely fluid, so please know that we’re doing everything in our power to assist the public in navigating through this difficult period.”