Fairmount Avenue outside Eastern State Penitentiary

If you’re not an essential worker, stay home. That’s the unwavering message from Philadelphia officials as they struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak

It’s more than a recommendation. Mayor Jim Kenney issued a citywide stay-at-home order that took effect on Mar. 23  — and now you can get a ticket if you don’t follow the rules.

In a video posted to Instagram, officers can be seen driving through the city and announcing: “In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are asking for your own safety, and the safety of the community, that you follow the social distancing guidelines and maintain at least 6 feet of space.”

Because some residents seem to be having a hard time with that, Philly police can now issue citations to people found breaking the rule. These tickets can come with a fine up to $100, the Inquirer reported Tuesday.

A city spokesperson confirmed the fine amount, issued as a code violation notice for failure to disperse and disturbing the peace. The $100 cost is the amount already associated with these violations.

“We are hopeful that verbal warnings will encourage people to disperse and fines will not be needed,” spokesperson Lauren Cox said.

Any public group gatherings are subject to the penalty, said Cox, and the city does not believe police have had to issue any citations so far.

Philadelphia’s $100 fine is actually pretty inexpensive compared to other cities around the U.S. Here’s how Philly stacks up.

New York City: $250 to $500

New York leads the country in coronavirus cases, with the latest figures nearing 42,000 in the city alone. The city is also feeling the extreme crunch of COVID-19 patients, and has set up an emergency hospital within Central Park.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday the city will issue fines of $250 to $500 for people who fail to disperse or to maintain distance when directed by police.

Detroit: $500

Detroit has confirmed more than 2,000 coronavirus cases and 75 deaths since the pandemic began in the area. Michigan has seen more than 7,600 cases and over 250 deaths to date.

To help curb gathering and encourage residents to follow social distancing orders, the state will issue $500 fines or up to three months of jail time to violators, a spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Denver: $999

With close to 3,000 coronavirus cases statewide in Colorado, and more than 500 in Denver, the midwestern city mandated residents stay inside and attached a $999 fine to that decree. Violators can also face criminal charges.

Washington D.C.: $5,000

Violating Washington D.C.’s order to stay home because of coronavirus could earn you a misdemeanor charge, a fine of up to $5,000 or 90 days of jail time.

However, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said she doesn’t expect the nation’s capital to have to issue any penalties. As of Wednesday, the city had close to 600 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths from the illness.

Baltimore: $5,000

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay at home order, issued Monday, came with pricey penalties for violators statewide.

State, city and county officers can impose a $5,000 fine and a penalty of up to 1 year in jail on anyone caught violating the state’s order. And they’re already getting to it. Police have charged at least two people for hosting parties and violating the state’s earlier ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

Seattle: $5,000

With over 2,000 coronavirus cases, Seattle’s King County leads Washington State, which has nearly 4,900 cases.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a  ‘stay home, stay healthy’ order. Violators could be charged with a gross misdemeanor which comes with a $5,000 fine or up to a year in jail.

Anchorage: $25k

Alaska has seen relatively few COVID-19 cases — just 133 for the entire state, including cases under investigation, and 65 cases in Anchorage.

Still, a directive from Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska said individuals could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $25k for behavior that qualifies as reckless endangerment, or “conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.”

Businesses who fail to comply with the non-essential shutdown order can be slapped with a $1,000 fine.

Layla A. Jones (she/her) was a general assignment reporter for Billy Penn from 2019 to 2021. Her work has helped underserved community organizations, earned free repairs for property owners who sustained...