Home Bensalem Times Wolf, Levine put state on ‘pause’ through early January

Wolf, Levine put state on ‘pause’ through early January

Indoor dining, gyms and more are closed through Jan. 4

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced stricter mitigation efforts. The new, limited-time orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 12, and remain in effect until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4.

“Today, I am announcing additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures in the commonwealth,” said Wolf. “With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals. First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Second, keep our hospitals and healthcare workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine – as safely as possible. This is a bridge to a better future in Pennsylvania.”

Mitigation efforts announced today include:

In-person dining and alcohol sales

– All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including but not limited to bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs and private catered events is prohibited
– Outdoor dining, takeout food service and takeout alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law, or this or any other order issued by Wolf or Levine

Indoor gatherings and events

– Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons are prohibited
– Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations set forth above 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 at this time. Faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19.

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 percent 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 coverings and practice physical distancing requirements

Entertainment industry

– All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including but not limited to 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, intramural 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

“Each of the last two days, we have reported the highest number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Levine. “In the past week, we have reported close to 1,100 new deaths from COVID-19 across Pennsylvania. The virus continues to strain our healthcare systems and the dramatic rise in cases among all age groups, including among school-age children, is alarming. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 37,500 cases among children age 5 to 18, yet 9,500 of those cases occurred in the past two weeks.”

“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,” said Wolf. “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.”

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