Coronavirus: What you can and cannot do under the current restrictions in Pennsylvania

Coronavirus: What you can and cannot do under the current restrictions in Pennsylvania
(WPXI/Cox Media Group)

PITTSBURGH — All counties in Pennsylvania are in the green phase in Gov. Tom Wolf’s color-coded reopening system, but new restrictions are in place as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The Allegheny County Health Department modified restrictions and extended an order banning indoor dining and large gatherings that started July 10 for two weeks.

This is in addition to the previous order from Dr. Debra Bogen that bans restaurants and bars from selling alcohol for on-site consumption.

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On July 15, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced more mitigation efforts for all other counties in the state targeting restaurants, bars and gatherings as a result of rising COVID-19 cases.

Here is what you can and cannot do under the current restrictions in the state:

Wolf announces new mitigation efforts targeting restaurants, bars and gatherings due to rising COVID-19 cases

Wolf has announced more mitigation efforts for the state of Pennsylvania targeting restaurants, bars and gatherings as a result of rising COVID-19 cases.

Wolf said the increase in cases come from people ignoring mask wearing requirements when visiting bars and restaurants, out-of-state travel and a lack of national coordination.

Wolf signed an executive order that will implement the following mitigation efforts:

  • 25% percent occupancy at restaurants; outdoor dining rules remain in effect
  • Alcohol sales only allowed during sit down meals; to-go-cocktails will still be allowed.
  • Teleworking when possible.
  • Indoor events and gatherings will be 25 or less
  • Outdoor events and gatherings is 250 or less

The state health department released the full list of measures. You can read that below:

Bars and Restaurants

All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, breweries, private clubs, and bars, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, as required by the order, including:

  • Prohibition from conducting operations unless the facility offers sit-down, dine-in meals or is serving take-out sales of alcoholic beverages. All service must be at a table or booth; bar service is prohibited.
  • Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.
  • Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.
  • Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e. tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.
  • Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons.
  • Occupancy is limited to 25 percent of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining, or 25 persons for a discrete indoor event or gathering in a restaurant. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Nightclubs

  • All nightclubs, as defined by the Clean Indoor Air Act, 35 P.S. § 637.2, are prohibited from conducting operations.

Other events and gatherings

Events and gatherings must adhere to these gathering limitations:

  • Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons are prohibited.
  • Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons are prohibited.
  • The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Teleworking

  • Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.
  • Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.

Gyms and fitness facilities

  • All gyms and fitness facilities, while permitted to continue indoor operations, are directed to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. All activities must follow masking requirements as provided by the July 1 order, and must provide for social distancing requirements of persons being at least 6 feet apart, as well as being limited by any limitations related to gatherings.

Enforcement

Businesses and individuals in violation of these orders, issued pursuant to the authority granted to the Governor and the Secretary of Health under the law, including the Pennsylvania Disease Control and Prevention Law, could be subject to fines, business closure or other applicable enforcement measures.


Mandatory mask order now in effect in Pennsylvania

Masks must now be worn whenever anyone leaves home, according to a new order signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

According to the order, Face coverings are required if you are:

  • Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not a member of your household.
  • In any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted.
  • Waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing service.
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic or blood bank.
  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, expect for members of the person’s own household or residence, are present when unable to physically distance.

Here are the exceptions to the face mask requirement, according to the order:

  • Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, mental health condition or disability.
  • Individuals for whom wearing a mask while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
  • Individuals who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance
  • Individuals who are under two years of age
  • Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

The order says individuals are not required to show documentation that an exception replies.

Quarantine after travel

If you have traveled, or plan to travel, to an area where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases, it is recommended that you stay at home for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. Those states include the following:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

Allegheny Co. Health Department issues 2-week order to stem COVID-19 spread

Indoor dining and alcohol consumption at bars, restaurants and other businesses are still prohibited in Allegheny County. However, officials said outdoor dining will be allowed until 11 p.m.

Takeout is able to continue at restaurants and bars, including alcoholic beverages, after 11 p.m.

Another notable change from the health department’s original order is the allowance of a three drink maximum while dining outdoors at restaurants. That includes alcohol, but officials said customers have to remain seated at a table.

Also, the use of tobacco products -- including e-cigarettes -- is prohibited at outdoor dining facilities and indoors at casinos. Officials said masks must be worn at all times while inside the casino as well.

The order bans events and gatherings of more than 25 people inside and more than 50 people outside. However, that does not apply to religious gatherings or places of worship.

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