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HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered that schools remain closed until early April and issued a stay-at-home order for the seven counties that have been hardest-hit by the coronavirus.
During a mid-day news briefing, Wolf said all schools will remain closed until at least April 6. He said his stay-at-home order, which will take effect at 8 p.m. and last two weeks, applies to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties in the southeast, Monroe County in the northeast, and Allegheny County in Western Pennsylvania.
“These restrictions are unlike anything we’ve experienced before,” Wolf said at a news conference. “If we want to save lives, we must distance ourselves socially. This is going to be difficult.”
The governor’s new orders took the fight against the coronavirus to a new level in Pennsylvania by requiring residents to remain inside except for essential trips such as buying food or seeking medical help.
*» READ MORE: Live tracker of latest Pa. case counts, county-by-county map*
Wolf’s order comes a day after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a similar order for the city’s 1.6 million residents.
In Philadelphia, all public and private gatherings of any number of people that occur outside a single household are banned, except for limited exceptions outlined in Kenney’s order. The work of designated “essential businesses” and “essential personnel” continues as before.
People in the city can leave homes to care for family members, friends, or pets in another household, to deliver essential goods, and to report to a job that’s related to an essential business.
This story will be updated.