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. 

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