The state is prohibiting all indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry for the next three weeks. Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are also prohibited, as are movie theaters.
The shutdowns are part of a series of limited-time mitigation efforts beginning at 12:01 a.m. on December 12 and ending at 8 a.m. on Jan. 4 announced by Gov. Tom Wolf.
“With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals,” he said. “First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Second, keep our hospitals and health care 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.”
The in-person indoor dining restrictions include, but are not limited to: bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited.
Outdoor dining, take-out food service and take-out alcohol sales will still continue.
Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 people will also be prohibited. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of worship are excluded from this rule.
Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 people are prohibited as part of the three week closures.
All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% capacity
Regarding the entertainment industry, the Wolf Administration said all in-person businesses serving the public within an indoor defined area, such as theaters, concert venues, museums and movie theaters will be prohibited from operating.
Pennsylvania continues to deal with growing outbreaks of the virus with 11,972 additional positive cases being reported by the department on Wednesday. As of Wednesday the statewide positive case total is 457,289 with 12,010 deaths since March.
The trend in the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 4,400 since the end of September.
“Each of the last two days we have reported the highest number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic,” Dr. Rachel Levine said. “In the past week, we have reported close to 1,100 new deaths from COVID-19 across Pennsylvania. The virus continues to strain our health care 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.”
This is a developing story