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Gov. Wolf announces sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions

The new rules start early Saturday and continue for three weeks, ending on January 4.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf announced new statewide pandemic restrictions on Thursday, shutting down indoor dining, gyms, theaters, and school-related extracurricular activities.

The new, limited-time mitigation orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. on December 12, and remain in effect until 8 a.m. on January 4, 2021.

  • 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, take-out food service, and take-out 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 the Sec. of Health or by the governor.
  • 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, these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in-person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants at this time. While this an incredibly difficult recommendation to make, particularly at this time of year, faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited.
  • Outdoor facilities and outdoor classes can continue, but all participants must wear face coverings.
  • 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.
  • 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 musical ensembles, school plays, student council, clubs, and school dances.
  • All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and club, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused.

Wolf made the announcement at a virtual news conference Thursday in his first public appearance since his own COVID-19 diagnosis. Wolf tested positive for the virus earlier this week but has said he wasn’t experiencing symptoms.

Read the release from the governor's office here.

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