Governor Issues New Pandemic Restrictions in Pennsylvania
Among them is a ban on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption at bars and restaurants on Thanksgiving Eve.
Calling it a critical time, Gov. Tom Wolf and State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine issued a new set of mitigation efforts aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. In the past week, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 has quadrupled, and the average daily case count is seven times higher than it was two months ago. Of particular concern is health care capacity.
“As our hospitals and health care system are facing greater strain, we need to redouble our efforts to keep people safe,” Wolf says. “If our health care system is compromised, it isn’t only COVID-19 patients who will suffer. If we run out of hospital beds, or if hospital staff are over-worked to the breaking point, care will suffer for every patient – including those who need emergency care for illnesses, accidents, or chronic conditions unrelated to COVID-19.”
The mitigation efforts announced Monday include an enforcement plan targeting chronic violators along with an effort to ensure schools are safe and in compliance with COVID safety plans. Wolf and Levine are encouraging Pennsylvanians to limit unnecessary travel and stay at home.
Thanksgiving Eve Alcohol Ban
- Restaurants, bars and private catered events must end alcohol sales for on-site consumption at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, only.
- Pre-K to 12 public schools with “substantial transmission” of large numbers of COVID-19 will be forced to go to remote learning if they do not attest to having enforced a universal mask order and social distancing in their buildings.
Businesses, Customers and Employees
- Telework is mandatory unless impossible; safety measures required for businesses including cleaning, social distancing and masking.
- Online sales and curbside pickup for all shopping are encouraged.
New Indoor Gathering Capacities
- Capacity is capped at 10% for venues with a maximum occupancy of up to 2,000
- Capacity is capped at 5% for venues with a capacity of up to 10,000
- No venues can have events with more than 500 people
New Outdoor Gathering Capacities
- Capacity is capped at 15% for venues with a maximum capacity of up to 2,000
- Capacity is capped at 10% for venues with occupancy of up to 10,000
- For venues that hold more than 10,000 people, capacity is capped at 5% up to 2,500.
Ramping up Enforcement
- Police and state agencies will be stepping up enforcement efforts, issuing citations and fines, and possibly regulatory actions for repeat offenders of any mitigation orders including, out-of-state travel, mask-wearing, restaurant mitigation, business safety, gathering limits and school mitigation.
“We are in a very dangerous situation, and we need to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 right now because if we give in to the virus, we will lose many more Pennsylvanians. And that is unacceptable,” says Wolf.