Gov. Wolf orders shutdown of indoor dining, gyms, theaters by midnight Friday


During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Governor Wolf reported he and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine are now considering additional mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 people are prohibited as part of the three week closures. Gyms and fitness facilities, meanwhile, must close indoor operations.

The new mitigation measures, which go into place on Sat., Dec. 12, and will remain in place until Mon., Jan. 4, 2021, are similar to ones put in place earlier in the pandemic, including shutting down all in-person, indoor dining at restaurants and bars (outdoor dining is still allowed).

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.

Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from those limitations during religious services, state officials say, 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".

Indoor gatherings and events will be limited to 10 people.

"While this an incredibly hard recommendation to make, particularly at this time of year, faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the enormous amount of community spread of COVID-19", the governor's office says. Pennsylvania reported more than 10,000 new cases Wednesday and over 160 deaths.

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a positive COVID-19 test in August but hours later said that a second test came back negative.

How are school activities and sports affected? This includes all competition at public, nonpublic and private schools as well as all club, travel, recreational, intermural and intramural sports.

In addition to athletics, school extracurricular activities like musical ensembles, plays and clubs are suspended but may continue virtually.

"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", Levine said.

The Pennsylvania Principals Association is recommending a delay of the winter sports season as well, which includes swimming & diving.

Spectators are prohibited from attending events. Anticipating that Wolf would announce a new round of restrictions, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, warned him against it Thursday. Across the US, there were more than 220,000 new cases reported Tuesday and more than 2,500 deaths. Health officials have also begged people to stay at home whenever possible.

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