Gov. Wolf Outlines New Restrictions to Slow Spread of the Virus

The restrictions, including a ban on indoor dining, take effect Saturday. Dec. 12, and last until Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
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Acknowledging that the current surge of COVID-19 cases is worse than it was in the spring, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday he is imposing a three-week period of new restrictions to slow the spread of the virus and ease the burden on the state’s hospital systems. They take effect at 12:01 a.m on Saturday, Dec. 12, and end at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

In-Person Dining and Alcohol Sales

  • All in-person indoor dining at bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited.
  • Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales are permitted.

Indoor Gatherings and Events

  • Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons are prohibited.
  • Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of worship are excluded from the limitations during religious services. But these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in-person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants.

Outdoor Gatherings and Events

  • Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons are prohibited.

Capacity Limits for Businesses

  • All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit.

Gyms and Fitness Facilities

  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited.
  • Outdoor facilities and outdoor classes can continue, but all participants must wear face masks.

Entertainment Industry

  • All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry, including theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are prohibited from operation.

In-Person Extracurricular School Activities

  • Voluntary activities sponsored or approved by a school entity’s governing body or administration are suspended, but these extracurricular activities may be held virtually. This includes, but is not limited to, attendance at or participation in activities such as musical ensembles, school plays, student council, clubs, and school dances.

K-12 School Sports and Youth Sports

  • All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and clubs, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused.

Professional and Collegiate Sports

  • Professional or collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health.
  • Spectators may not attend such sports activities in person.

“We know that COVID-19 thrives in places where people gather together,” Wolf said. “Therefore, these mitigation measures target high-risk environments and activities and aim to reduce the spread of this devastating virus.

“The work we do now to slow the spread of COVID-19 is not only crucial to keeping our fellow Pennsylvanians safe and healthy. It will help all of us get back to normal, and back to all of the things we’ve missed, faster. And it means more Pennsylvanians will be alive to celebrate that brighter future. This year, we show our love for our families and friends by celebrating safely and protecting one another.”

Wolf tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. A day later, he tested negative. His wife, Frances, tested negative but will continue to quarantine with him at their home.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen appealed on Wednesday for more statewide mitigation measures. Bogen said without further action, cases would not peak until January or later.

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