COVID 19 – Information for Citizens of Philadelphia County

Compiled by the Racial Justice Committee of the Caucus of Working Educators

Last Updated 3.19.2020

Below, you will find information on:

  • Schools and students
  • Utility services
  • Housing, foreclosures, and evictions
  • Transportation
  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Food and public assistance
  • Health and COVID-19
  • Voting in PA
  • Updated PA sick leave law
  • Courts/legal services
  • Volunteer

Schools and Students: 

Grab and Go Meals 

  • Meals available for school age students Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Sites here

Standardized Testing

  • Effective March 19, 2020 ALL testing will be canceled in PA. This includes the PSSA, Keystone and PASA.  

Learning Guides 

COVID-19 Parent Guide 

Local Online African American History Class 

  • Highschoolers can sign up here to learn the integral role African Americans have and continue to play in our nation. 
  • Join here

Utility Services:

Philadelphia Water Department

  • Effective March 16th, PWD and the Water Revenue Bureau will work together to restore water service to all delinquent residential and commercial customers through Friday, May 15, 2020, and the restoration fee will be waived. 
  • In addition, we will not shut off water service for delinquent residential and commercial accounts through May 15, 2020.
  • Residential customers who have been shut off for meter non-compliance will also have their water service restored until May 15, 2020

Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)

  • Effective March 13th, PGW is suspending non-payment terminations until May 1, 2020. PGW also plans to waive new late payment charges.


  • Effective March 13th, PECO is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payments charges through at least May 1, 2020

Comcast and Internet

  • As detailed on their web page – Effective Monday, March 16, 2020
  • Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
  • No Disconnects or Late Fees: We will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Our care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
  • Internet Essentials Free to New Customers: As announced yesterday, it’s even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
  • News, Information and Educational Content on X1: For those with school-age students at home, we’ve created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into your X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, we also have created a collection of the most current news and information on Coronavirus. Just say “Coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.

Housing, Foreclosures, and Evictions:


  • Philadelphia municipal court is placing a stay on evictions effective, Monday, March 16, 2020, for 2 weeks. The landlord-tenant office will remain open to process new cases

Philadelphia Housing Authority

  • PHA suspended evictions for 30 days effective March 13, 2020. Hardship waivers to PHA residents will be available for those who lost a job or received a pay cut due to the pandemic.

Foreclosures and Sheriff Sales

  • All March sales are postponed. Check the web site for additional info. 

Homeless Initiative Info:

  • If you’re seeking emergency housing, contact Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services for help. During the day, families can also call 215-686-7150. After hours (nights, holidays, weekends), call 215-787-2887. Project Home is another resource for homelessness. Call 215.232.1984

Unemployment Compensation:

  • If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefits.
  • The following changes to UC have been made to help Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic:
    • The Waiting Week is suspended. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the “waiting week”). This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed.
    • Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with


SEPTA and Regional Rail:

  • Regional Rail will be running a reduced weekday schedule starting March 22. All SEPTA lines including train, bus, and trolley will be operating on a Saturday schedule, 7 days a week beginning March 22, 2020. 

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT)

  • All Drivers License and Photo License centers in PA will be closed for two weeks effective March 16, 2020. Online services will be available 24 hours and 7 days a week. PA Turnpike has temporarily suspended cash payments. Expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 will be extended until April 30, 2020.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse: 

Mental Health Hotline:

  • Help is available. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the crisis text line by texting PA to 741-741.

Substance Use Disorder:

  • If COVID-19 has you feeling down, you are not alone.
  • The Get Help Now hotline is a confidential, 24/7, 365 treatment and information service for individuals and families looking for help with a drug or alcohol problem.
  • Call 1-800-662-HELP.

Food and Public Assistance:

SNAP Benefits 

  • If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food assistance from PA or a food bank. There is a pandemic EBT provision that provides additional SNAP monies to families with children that have been out of school for more than 5 days. Grab and Go meals for children and families provided by over 50 rec centers. Click here for more details. 
  • Check out this link regarding how to apply for SNAP benefits or food bank locations. 

Kidz Meals on Wheels 

Public Assistance Programs:

  • All offices are closed effective March 17, 2020. 

Health and COVID 19: 

What to do if you have symptoms?

  • If you have serious symptoms like high fever, difficulty breathing, symptoms lasting longer than 3 days or suspected dehydration please contact your regular health care provider. 
  • If you do not have a provider please contact one of the urgent care clinics listed on the map and they can also help you coordinate with the health department.

CHOP – COVID 19 hotline 

  • For testing or health questions regarding children – Call 800.722.7112

PENN Drive- thru testing and health questions

PA Medical Assistance testing assistance 

Davita Kidney Centers

  • DO NOT MISS YOUR TREATMENTS. Contact your health care provider and the center if you are exhibiting symptoms.  

Donate Blood

  • If you are able to give blood, there is a critical shortage! 
  • Make an appointment here
  • Appointments are being spaced to allow for social distancing. 

Free Libraries:

  • All sites will be closed until March 29th and then re-evaluated before making an updated announcement on closure. 

Voting in PA:

Updated PA Sick Leave Law:

  • Philadelphia’s sick leave law has been expanded so that covered workers can use their paid sick leave for COVID-19 related business closures, quarantine, and to stay home with their children during school closures without fear of retaliation.
  • “If you work for an employer with more than nine employees, you’re entitled to paid sick days. If you work for an employer with fewer than 10 employees, you’re entitled to unpaid sick days. Chains with more than 14 locations worldwide also must provide paid sick leave, no matter how many employees work at one location. But you have to be an employee — not an independent contractor — to be covered by the city’s law.
  • If you’re not sure what you are, check your tax documents or ask your employer. Employees get W2s, and independent contractors get 1099s. Other workers who aren’t covered under the Philadelphia law include unionized employees and state and federal employees (these groups likely have a paid sick leave policy written into their collective bargaining agreements) and seasonal workers.
  • Your immigration status does not affect your ability to get paid sick leave. You have to work at least 40 hours a year for that employer in order to accrue sick days. Under the Philly law, you can accrue up to five (paid or unpaid) sick days. And you have to have worked 90 days before you can use them.” 
  • More here

Courts/legal services:

  • Community Legal Service will be closed until March 25, 2020. The housing intake hotline will still take calls at 267-443-2500.
  • Philadelphia Legal Assistance is taking no walk-ins until April 30, 2020. Telephone intake is Monday – Thursday from 930 am – Noon at 215.981.3800 and online intake is at

Federal Court:

  • Federal courts and Common Pleas in PA have suspended jury trials in Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties. 

Community Legal Services Family Advocacy Hotline: 


In the City of Philadelphia 

  • VOLUNTEERS looking to help out should be directed to follow these instructions:
  1. Go to the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps portal at
  2. Click “Volunteer to support COVID-19 response efforts.”
  3. To sign up for an opportunity, please create an account. You’ll need to provide an email address.
  4. Select  an opportunity and sign up to attend. Please read the opportunity description in its entirety. Some opportunities are in-person, while others offer different ways to get involved.
  5. After completing the volunteer activity, record your hours on the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps portal.

Donate Blood

  • If you are able to give blood, there is a critical shortage! 
  • Make an appointment here
  • Appointments are being spaced to allow for social distancing. 

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler endorses Bernie Sanders for President!

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler

Another huge endorsement from a Philadelphia progressive!

“Bernie Sanders aligns with me on so many of my values and the things I’m really committed to fighting for,” Fiedler said in an interview … “That resonates with me really deeply and with a lot of the folks that I talk to and represent in South Philly,” she said.”

Read more from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Philadelphia Councilmember Helen Gym endorses Bernie Sanders!

Helen Gym

We couldn’t be happier to hear Councilmember Gym’s announcement!
“I’ve seen movements reshape our city and state, and I believe in the power of movements to reshape our country. Bernie Sanders doesn’t just talk about movements for change, he leads them.”

Read More From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

We would like to once again thank Councilmember Helen Gym for speaking at last month’s Philly for Bernie Variety Show Fundraiser. Her leadership on so many issues has improved the lives of working families here in Philly. Here are her remarks at the event. She spoke directly to the need for regular folks like us to take leadership on the most important issues of our time. If you missed the fundraiser you can watch her speech below.

Helen Gym speaks at the Philly for Bernie Variety Show

Great thanks to Councilmember Helen Gym who spoke at our Philly for Bernie Variety Show Fundraiser. Her leadership on so many issues has improved the lives of working families here in Philly. Here are her remarks at the event. She spoke directly to the need for regular folks like us to take leadership on the most important issues of our time. Thanks so much for coming to our event!We have more videos from the event scheduled. Please enjoy this speech from Councilmember Helen Gym!Philly for Bernie 2020

Posted by Philly for Bernie 2020 on Saturday, February 1, 2020

Bernie Sanders and Helen Gym: Philly’s fight for Hahnemann represents the need for quality health care for all

PA Primary News: Bernie Sanders is ahead of Joe Biden and new polling shows the race against Trump is tight

Bernie At Hahnemann University Hospital

New Polling collected before Sanders’ Nevada win shows Bernie is in the lead in key swing state primaries with results also pointing to a near tie between Trump and all of the Democratic candidates in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

44,000 votes swung Pennsylvania to Trump in 2016, and the race is shaping up to be just as tight in this general election. The new Poll from the University of Wisconsin, has Sanders with the best footing against Trump, leading 47% to 45% — The poll carries a 3% to 4% margin of error. Biden leads Trump 46% to 45%, and every other Democrat is even with Trump in the Keystone State.

Read More From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

This latest victory in Nevada was made possible by the work we do every day. As we continue to march forward to the Pa. Primary remember that your contributions are what will create the momentum needed to bring the political revolution to Pennsylvania.

If you haven’t already, please get busy and get your networks into the BERN app – even if they don’t support Bernie. This will help with everything else the campaign is doing. Identifying people who don’t support Bernie is as valuable as identifying those who do, or are open to it. Here’s a great resource about what to do.

Please consider signing up to be a Bernie Block Captain. Philly For Bernie will hook you up with everything you need. Click here to learn more and get started.



Variety Show Fundraiser!!

Friday’s variety show fundraiser at the Field House was a success! Lots of folks came through to donate, buy raffles and crafts, listen to speeches, music and spoken word, watch dancers and sign petitions.

Reclaim speaks at Philly for Bernie Variety Show

Sergio Cea from Reclaim Philadelphia spoke at the Philly for Bernie Variety Show Fundraiser. He spoke about the good work Reclaim is doing and their endorsmeent of Bernie Sanders. They are organizing many events around the primary for Bernie and other progressive candidates. Check it out!Philly for Bernie 2020#feelthebern #bernie2020 #notmeus

Posted by Philly for Bernie 2020 on Monday, February 3, 2020

Bernie wins Penn’s Satellite Caucus

We are pleased to report that Bernie Sanders has won the largest share of delegates in the satellite Iowa caucus hosted at the University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall. In a room full of press cameras, onlookers, and Federal Donuts, fourteen displaced Iowans arranged themselves into groups demonstrating support for six candidates. Five stood for Sanders, three for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, two for Andrew Yang, two for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one for Sen. Amy Klobuchar and one for former VP Joe Biden. All but Warren and Sanders failed to reach the viability threshold of three, so voters of other candidates were released for the second round.

In the second alignment, Bernie earned the vote of one Yang caucuser, the lone Klobuchar voter moved to Warren, and Buttigieg picked up both the other Yang vote and the Biden vote, bringing the totals to six for Sanders, four for Warren, and four for Buttigieg. Each candidate earned two, one, and one delegates, respectively.

On a night when the United States political world has its eyes glued on the state of Iowa, it was amazing that the local Philly for Bernie community could still play its part in the opening chapter of this historic election.

Weekend Roundup: Bernie proposes a bill to ban fracking, releases his Disability Rights Plan, and picks up a powerful endorsement.

AOC and Bernie Sanders

It’s a YUGE news day for #Bernie2020!

First up, Pennsylvania news! Bernie picks up a powerful endorsement yesterday from Sara Innamorato and beats Biden in a new Pennsylvania poll.

Yesterday Bernie proposed a bill to ban fracking.

John Delaney, whose 2020 Primary campaign was the longest of any Democratic candidate, dropped out today.

Bernie released his Disability Rights Plan today to resounding approval from activists advocating Justice for People with Disabilities.

Today is the January FEC Deadline for donations! Two Bernie Staffers have promised to dye their hair pink if 900,000 people donate before Iowa Caucus Day.

A coalition of 10 amazing progressive organizations have united with the goal of mobilizing a game changing 1.4M additional youth voters for Bernie. Be sure to follow these accounts and amplify their tag #PeoplePowerForBernie!


Reclaim Philadelphia members have voted overwhelmingly (81%!) to endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

Reclaim Philadelphia

We’re excited to hear of Reclaim Philadelphia’s endorsement and welcome their support to elect Bernie Sanders. Together let’s fight for a government that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few!

Bernie Sanders’ thanked Reclaim stating, “Thank you Reclaim Philadelphia for supporting our campaign. Together we are building the strongest grassroots movement in the history of American presidential politics.”

Thank you Reclaim Philadelphia for supporting our campaign. Together we are building the strongest grassroots movement in the history of American presidential politics.

Posted by Bernie Sanders on Monday, January 27, 2020

Click here to read more about Reclaim Philadelphia’s endorsement on their website.

Big Victories for Progressives Nationally! Kendra has a Chance to Change Philly Politics.

Kendra Brooks wins a seat on Philly city council

There’s an embarrassment of riches in today’s news.

First, several great victories last night Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks has won herself a seat on the Philadelphia City Council. This has huge implications for the Left and is national news.

Kentucky Governors race, Virginia state house and senate, ranked choice voting in NYC. There are a couple of races still up in the air (SF District Attorney, Seattle City Council seats, etc) but by and large, it was a night to feel pretty good about.

There’s several positive articles about Bernie. There’s news about a Weather Channel special tomorrow on climate change and the 2020 race, and there’s polling news to review as well.

We’re coming up on a weekend of Bernie appearances in Iowa with AOC including the Climate Crisis Summit, and a couple of rallies.

Also… it’s 2 weeks out to the next Democratic debate!  So don’t lose sight of that.  People are encouraged to set up and/or attend debate watch parties, and is ready to list them.

Make it a great day. Thanks for all you do to support Bernie and the political revolution. 


Phonebank! Making calls to voters is the single most important thing you can do to help our campaign. 
Find an event to attend:




Other stuff you can do . . .
Use the BERN app online
Download the BERN app from Apple
Download the BERN app from GooglePlay
Encourage people to step away from their keyboards and get out into their communities.
Want to do more for Bernie? Volunteer here
Invite graphic designers and social media gurus to this Slack
Head over to the #discussion-chat channel to chat with fellow Berners.
Subscribe to the OFB2020 Bernie: Then And Now channel on YouTube
Listen to Hear The Bern
Subscribe to Bern Notice
Keep calling voters in early states!