Coronavirus Latest: Philadelphians Violating Shelter-At-Home Order Could Face $100 Fine

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials mean business when it comes to the shelter-at-home order. They’ve announced that violators could be fined.

We’re now well into spring, with sunny skies and warmer weather. There is always the temptation to get outside and maybe hang out with friends.

But that is downright dangerous and city officials are doing what they can to make sure people know that.

“We will do whatever we can to flatten this curve,” City Council President Darrell Clarke said.

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That includes a mandatory shelter-at-home order. Only essential activities like going to the grocery store, are allowed.

On Tuesday, city officials announced Philadelphians could face a $100 fine if they’re caught violating the order.

“Arrest is not off the table but obviously, given that this is a public health issue, we want to make sure that we don’t interject in situations that will put either our officers or the citizens that we’re providing the service to at more risk,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.

The potential fine in Philly is significantly less than other areas with similar policies.

In New York City, fines can range from $250 to $500; up to $999 in Denver; and in Baltimore, you could be out $5,000.

Even so, two days later here in Philadelphia, CBS3 cameras caught people ignoring the request, which is meant to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Videos posted to social media show Philadelphia police pleading with the public to stay inside.

“In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we’re asking for your own safety and the safety of the community that you follow the social distancing guidelines,” an officer said in a video posted to Instagram.

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A spokesperson for the mayor’s office says police officers make the final decision on whether to issue the fines, known as code violation notices (CVNs).

“We are hopeful that the verbal warnings taking place will encourage people to disperse and fines will not be needed,” said Lauren Cox, with the mayor’s office.

When asked how many CVNs have been issued to date, a spokesperson with the mayor’s office said real-time counts are not available but at this time, she is not aware of any that have been issued.