U.S. hit hard by Covid-19, President Donald Trump approves Washington disaster declaration

Four states issue stay-at-home orders

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Washington and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Washington.

Federal funding is also available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Washington impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Michael F. O’Hare as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments.

Four states have issued stay-at-home orders including Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio.

As of Sunday, here’s the orders for people to stay home:

  • Delaware Governor John Carney ordered residents to stay at home and closed nonessential businesses starting Tuesday at 8 a.m.
  • Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered ‘nonessential’ businesses to close
  • Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay-at-home order, effective 5 p.m. Monday. 
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine imposed a statewide stay-at-home mandate, effective 11:59 p.m. Monday.

Several cities and counties have ordered residents to stay at home.

  • Philadelphia issued an order for its residents to stay home effective 8 a.m. Monday and exempts activities like buying groceries and medicine, seeking medical care and exercising.
  • St. Louis Missouri issued an order Saturday, which also applies to St. Louis County, which starts on Monday. The order in Kansas City and its metro area goes into effect Tuesday.
  • New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell directed residents to stay at home starting Friday.
  • San Miguel County, Colorado, is under a shelter-in-place order until April 3.
  • Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, is under a shelter-in-place order until April 7.
  • Blaine County, Idaho, is under a shelter-in-place order.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, issued its stay-at-home order Sunday, prohibiting “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit,” according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

The order goes into effect Monday at 8 a.m.

Essential personal activities, such as obtaining essential goods and services, seeking medical attention, caring for family members in another household, or reporting to a job at an essential business, are exempt from the restriction.

The city issued a new Business Activity and Stay at Home Order that details restrictions on business activity, personal activity, and congregation in Philadelphia. These restrictions take effect Monday, March 23, 2020, at 8 a.m.  

The new Business Activity and Stay at Home Order includes:

Public Gatherings

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited. This does not apply to activities related to Essential Businesses and Activities or Essential Personal Activities.

Stay at Home Order

All Philadelphia residents must remain home or at their place of residence unless they are engaged in Essential Personal Activities that are spelled out in the order. 

Examples of essential personal activities include:

  • Obtaining essential goods and services
  • Seeking medical attention or seeking assistance from law enforcement or emergency services
  • Caring for family members, friends, or a pet in another household 
  • Delivering essential goods or services
  • Reporting to or performing a job related to an essential business
  • Certain outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling, or operating a wheelchair while using appropriate social distancing rules 
  • Education, religious, or political activities

Business Activity

This new order does not impact the delivery of food or essential goods.  

However, there have been changes to permitted business activities. These changes include:  

  • Walk-in takeout orders at restaurants are now prohibited. Food can be picked at a drive-through.  Food may also be pre-ordered via telephone or the internet and either picked up or delivered. 
  • Food trucks and ice cream trucks are now prohibited.  

Grocery stores and other essential businesses should discourage leisure or idle conduct by customers and manage store occupancy to allow for social distancing.

Consistent with the Governor’s order, the City clarifies that the following are life-sustaining businesses or services: 

  • Laundromats
  • Veterinary hospitals and services, and pet stores
  • Consumer banks and credit unions using drive-through, ATM and limited lobby services
  • Stores that primarily repair cell phones
  • Bicycle repair shops
  • Emergency household repairs and maintenance including extermination services

Businesses required to suspend physical operations may only have essential on-site personnel to maintain critical functions, such as security, and processing of essential operations that cannot be done remotely.

The city’s emergency restrictions no longer ends on Friday, March 27. To align with the Governor’s order, the city’s order remains in effect until further notice.

Updated March 22, 7:48 p.m.

George Brownwell/Alberta Press

george@albertapessleader.ca

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