Coronavirus Restrictions: What you need to know in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware

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Coronavirus cases are rising across the Delaware Valley and across the country.

The surge in cases has prompted renewed restrictions in the tri-state area as state and local officials work to keep health care systems from becoming overwhelmed.

Governors and mayors around the country have been tightening restrictions in response to the worsening pandemic.

Below is a quick look at new restrictions in the tri-state area. 

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania health officials have been taking additional steps to address a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

Those "targeted and strategic actions" went into effect Friday, Nov. 20, and include testing requirements for those traveling or returning to Pennsylvania from another state, as well as stronger mask and face-covering guidelines.

Officials announced a new order Monday prohibiting bars and restaurants from selling beer and liquor for on-site consumption between 5 p.m. Wednesday through 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

Schools across the state were included in the new safeguards Monday as well and are required to implement strict safety measures. Those measures require Pre-K to 12 public schools in counties that have been in the substantial transmission level for at least two consecutive weeks to commit to safety measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and educators. If they choose not to, they must move to fully remote learning without all extra-curricular activities.

Last week, Philadelphia banned indoor gatherings and indoor dining and shutter casinos, gyms, museums and libraries. Those new restrictions are in place through at least Jan. 1, 2021. 

Meanwhile, other suburban counties have taken no action or smaller actions, like switching to all-virtual learning in Montgomery County.

Unlike Philadelphia, Chester County, despite a recent jump in positive COVID tests, will not ban indoor gatherings of non-household members, or halt indoor dining.

It’s neighbor, Delaware County, also facing a spike in positive tests, says it will not be following Philadelphia’s lead.

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey has also seen daily numbers of new infections break records over the past few weeks. 

Gov. Phil Murphy has called the spike in cases "alarming" but took a more measure approach when announcing new restrictions. 

On Monday, Murphy broke the news that the state would be implementing new restrictions on both indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people as of Nov. 17, while outdoor gatherings are now limited to a maximum of 150 people effective Nov. 23. 

"We think those are steps that will help, and we reserve the right, unfortunately, to take more steps if we need to," Murphy added.

Murphy went on to add that the following indoor gatherings may continue under the current rules which limited them to 25% of a room’s capacity, up to 150 people:

  • Religious services/celebrations and political events
  • Weddings
  • Funerals/memorial services
  • Performances

The Garden State has also ordered bars and restaurants to halt indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. while allowing them to stay open for takeout and delivery. Towns and counties were also given the power to regulate non-essential business hours after 8 p.m.

DELAWARE

Delaware Gov. John Carney announced new measures of his own aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in his state. 

Effective Monday, Nov. 23, no more than 10 people will be permitted at gatherings in private homes. Larger gatherings, such as weddings, funerals or houses of worship, among other events, are to have no more than 30 percent of a building’s fire capacity and a total of 50 people.

For outdoor gatherings, no more than 50 people are permitted, and gatherings of up to 250 people must be approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health. 

Restaurants are allowed to resume indoor dining services at no more than 30% of the fire capacity. 

Gov. Carney's order prohibits Delaware youth sports organizations, teams, and venues from hosting tournaments or participating in tournaments with out-of-state-teams. That portion of the order is effective Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8 a.m.

State officials continue to recommend that K-12 public schools operate in a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote instruction.

TRACKING THE SPREAD

You can keep track of the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in your county with the map below.

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