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Essential City Services Remain Open, Here is How to Access Them

Starting March 17, 2020 non-essential City of Philadelphia government operations were halted, and all City government buildings will be closed to the public.

Below are the essential City services that are still in operation.

Public Safety

All Philadelphia Police, Fire, EMS, Prisons, and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) operations remain unchanged. On March 11, OEM established an Emergency Operations Center to bring City departments and external stakeholders together in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to set objectives and coordinate real-time interagency communication, information sharing, resource and equipment procurement and decision making. The Community Crisis Intervention Program (CCIP) teams continue to be available Monday through Friday 12pm to 8pm and Thursday through Sunday 6pm to 4am. To request assistance from CCIP, please call 215-800-4611.

Homeless Services

Assistance is and will be available to those who are homeless or facing imminent homelessness. People can use one of the Office of Homeless Services many access points to gain entry to shelter services. A complete list of locations and hours is available on the City’s website. We also encourage Philadelphians to call (215) 232-1984 to request street outreach if they see someone on the street in need of shelter or other services.

Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline

Residents are encouraged to call 1-800-722-7112 to access this free, 24/7 helpline. It is staffed by trained healthcare providers and is for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the public and healthcare professionals, to help answer questions about COVID-19.

City Health Centers

All centers are open and operating regular hours. These centers see everyone, it doesn’t matter their immigration status, if they have insurance or not, or if they are proficient in English. Language translation services are available.

Mental Health and Addiction Services

The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) wants those in need to know they can still receive support from the Department. If you find yourself in need, please use the following resources.

Free Meal Services

While schools are closed, the School District of Philadelphia is coordinating with the City’s Office of Children and Families, Parks & Recreation, other departments, and nonprofit partners to provide grab-and-go meal service for students (18 and under) throughout the city.

Support for Businesses

In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the City is restricting certain commercial activity. We recognize the significant impact that these policies will have on businesses and workers. Learn about the City’s support for businesses.

Individuals Who Want to File a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA)

Now through April 1st residents can file for emergency PFAs in room B-03 (the basement) of the Stout Center for Criminal Justice, 1301 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Individuals Who Need Legal Advice Related to Domestic Violence

During normal business hours residents can call the Women Against Abuse Legal Center at (215) 686-7082 and leave a message with a safe number for an advocate to call them back.

Individuals who want to talk to a domestic violence advocate about their situation, their options, and safety planning

Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-723-3014 remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Rec Centers and Older Adult Centers

50 recreation centers will remain open from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. to provide grab-and-go meals at 3:00 p.m. daily to children 18 and under. Through Friday, March 20, six older adult centers will also remain open for grab-and-go meal distribution.

Trash and Recycling Collection

Trash and recycling will be collected on a normal schedule. To report a missed pickup, contact Philly311.

Illegal Dumping Abatement

Illegal dumping cleanup continues as part of the City’s essential operations.

To report illegal dumping in the act, call 9-1-1. To report illegal dumping after the fact, contact 3-1-1.

Sanitation Convenience Centers

The City’s Sanitation Convenience Centers will remain open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for residents to drop off materials.


The City’s non-emergency contact center remains open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m Monday through Friday and will be adding additional capacity on weekends. Residents can place a service request by calling 3-1-1 or dialing (215) 686-8686 or through submitting service requests online. Language translation services are available.

Free Library of Philadelphia Digital Resources

The Free Library maintains robust digital resources that you can access anywhere, including ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, and music, over 100 databases, and online courses from Mango Languages and from LinkedIn.

Resources from the Free Library are available to help students continue their learning from home at You’ll need your Free Library card number and PIN to log on.

Licenses and Inspections (L&I)

L&I is continuing to provide core services. As of Monday, March 16, online permitting is available through the eCLIPSE technology platform. L&I has also launched an automated phone system customers can use to schedule permit inspections and check on the status of permit applications.

For more information on how L&I is serving customers and protecting public safety, see To learn more about using eCLIPSE, visit the eCLIPSE resource page.

Philadelphia Water Department (PWD)

All necessary operations will continue uninterrupted to ensure residents have safe drinking water and that wastewater is treated. Drinking water safety is not impacted by the virus and customers do not need to purchase bottled water.

The PWD customer contact center (215) 685-6300 will be open for emergencies 24/7.

Essential employees at PWD are working to minimize delays in service, including longer call wait times and delayed response to water emergencies such as water main breaks.

Water shutoffs: On Monday, March 16, PWD began restoring water service to all delinquent residential and commercial customers through Friday, May 15 and the restoration fee will be waived. Customers will not be shut off for nonpayment through May 15.

Philadelphia Gas Works

PGW does not anticipate any service disruption to our customers at this time. Effective March 13, PGW is suspending non-payment terminations until May 1, 2020. PGW also plans to waive new late payment charges.


PECO has robust plans to ensure continued electric and natural gas service for our customers and do not foresee any issues meeting our customers’ energy needs. Effective March 13, PECO is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges through at least May 1, 2020.

Philadelphia International Airport

The United States has suspended travel from Europe through April 11, 2020. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) remains open and operational during this time of reduced travel and supports the country’s effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The airport advises anyone planning to fly over the next few weeks to check directly with their airline for flight status updates.

Philadelphia Prisons

All inmate visits are canceled for all jails in Philadelphia County until further notice. However, the Philadelphia Prisons Department is providing additional free calling time to support family contact.

Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA)

Online payment options are available for violations. The Parking Violations Branch and PPA administrative offices are closed.

Parking enforcement will continue with a special emphasis on enforcing safety violations, including blatant violations that pose a threat to public order and safety such as double-parking, loading zone violations, and blocking entranceways, fire hydrants or crosswalks.

However, meters, kiosks and residential parking time limits will not be enforced. The PPA encourages motorists to park legally during this pandemic so as not to impede traffic flow or block emergency vehicle access. Additional details on the PPA’s COVID-19 protocols can be found on


To accommodate changing ridership levels during the COVID-19 crisis, SEPTA Regional Rail will operate on an enhanced Saturday schedule service plan (including added service for the Cynwyd line and Wilmington/Newark service ending in Newark, DE) beginning March 17 and until further notice.

Since operations are changing daily, SEPTA riders should check TrainView regularly for updates or additional service information throughout the day. For information on bus detours and subway operations, please visit

SEPTA is offering credits for unused and partially used Monthly March 2020 Passes and Weekly Passes for the Weeks of March 9th & March 16th (including those on Key Cards and University Semester Paper Legacy Passes).

Learn more about essential and non-essential businesses during this time

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