HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf and Pa. Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine held a press conference Monday to announce new measures as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state.
Levine issued several advisories, including the suspension of alcohol sales at all bars and restaurants between 5 p.m. Nov. 25 and 8 a.m. Nov. 26.
“As the Secretary of Health, I have issued a series of advisories and orders intended to help stop the spread during this critical time, to protect our hospitals, our health care workers and the lives of our fellow Pennsylvanians,” Dr. Levine said. “Our collective responsibility continues to be to protect our communities, our health care workers and our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians from COVID-19. That has not changed.”
Officials cited new modeling that projects Pa. to be on track for 22,000 coronavirus cases per day by December as part of the reason for increased measures.
Below is a brief list of some of the other restrictions listed by health officials:
- Indoor dining capacity remains capped at 50%
- Employees must telework when possible starting Nov. 27
- Retail businesses can remain open at 75% capacity
- Indoor events with more than 500 people prohibited
- Outdoor events with more than 2,500 people prohibited
- Stay-at-home advisory statewide
The state health department reported a two-day total of 11,837 additional positive cases of COVID-19. Allegheny County’s total increased by 962 over that same time period.
Pa.’s positivity rate has climbed to 11.1% with its seven-day case increase of over 36,000 new cases and 63 of the state’s counties with substantial transmission status, health officials said.
Wolf and Levine said during the press conference that the state strongly recommends residents stay home when possible. The stay-at-home advisory was expanded from individual counties to the entire state.
Levine said there are currently 59 Pa. counties at the “substantial” transmission level for at least two weeks. Because of that, the recommendation is to go fully remote until the transmission level decreases.
Officials are now requiring Pre-K through 12th grade public schools in those counties to commit to safety measures to “ensure the safety and well-being of students and teachers. If they choose not to, those schools must move fully remote without all extra-curricular activities.
Here are the requirements listed by the state:
- Those schools are mandated to comply with updated protocols if a COVID-19 case is identified in the building.
- By 5 p.m. on Nov. 30, chief school administrators and the governing body president/chair must sign an attestation form stating they have either transitioned to fully remote learning or are complying with the orders if they are conducting any in-person instruction while in the “substantial” range of transmission.
Because of the outdoor capacity limit being reduced to 2,500, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced only family and friends of the teams will be able to attend games at Heinz Field.
You can read the following statement from the Steelers:
“Today, Governor Wolf’s Office and State Health Director Dr. Levine issued new orders and advisories which will affect our games in December, starting with the game against Washington on December 6. That order will now limit Heinz Field to no more than 2,500 people in the building, including players, coaches, stadium staff, etc. Consequently, we will have to restrict fans in the seating bowl to family and friends of players and the organization. Fans who have selected seats for the December 6 game will receive communication directly from our Ticket Office regarding credits or refunds.
Today’s new orders and advisories from the State of Pennsylvania do not impact the Steelers game vs. the Baltimore Ravens game this Thursday, Thanksgiving night. Fans holding tickets to Thursday’s game will again be required to adhere to already published protocols, including requirements for wearing a mask and social distancing.
Our priority remains the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, gameday workers, and our fans. We will adhere to the original protocols for games with fans at Heinz Field and expect approximately 5,500 fans in attendance for Thursday’s game versus the Ravens.”
Despite these new guidelines, a lot of the people Channel 11 spoke with said they will not be changing or canceling their Thanksgiving plans with family.
“I think that especially around the holidays, families are important. I know the advisory is there for all of our well-being, but I think if we just continue to take precautions -- wash our hands, wear our masks, keep our distance -- I think we will be fine,” said Beaver County resident Amy Weller.
Cox Media Group