Pennsylvania lifts ban on indoor dining, gyms while most Philadelphia restrictions remain

Restrictions in Pennsylvania that banned indoor dining, shuttered gyms and entertainment venues, and limited gatherings have expired Monday morning.

Philadelphia, which has acted independently for most of the pandemic, will remain under most of its current restrictions until at least Jan. 15. Gyms, however, are expected to reopen with capacity requirements.

The restrictions, which also paused K-12 and recreational sports leagues, have been in place since Dec. 13. Indoor gatherings were trimmed to just 10 people and outdoor gatherings were limited to 50 attendees. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said before the new year that he would allow restrictions to expire as scheduled on Jan. 4. Wolf believes the pause did what it was "intended to do" by helping cases plateau and deaths drop.

MORE: Pennsylvania will allow indoor dining, gyms to reopen on Monday; restrictions upheld in Philadelphia

All health and safety requirements put in place before Dec. 12 will remain in effect, according to Wolf. These mitigation efforts include statewide mask-wearing, gathering limits based on venue size, business capacity limits and restaurant self-certification.

"We need to continue to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, because if we get complacent and let case numbers begin to go back up, the danger to our communities, to our families, to our healthcare system will return with swift and deadly consequences," Wolf said last week.

Restaurants that have self-certified can reopen dining rooms at 50 percent capacity. Other eateries that declined the optional self-certification can reopen at 25 percent capacity, according to the state. Alcohol will only be sold with the purchase of a meal and restaurants must stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m. 

Gyms may also reopen with limits on capacity as well as social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Likewise, indoor entertainment venues like casinos, theaters, arcades and clubs can resume indoor operations with capacity limits.

Pennsylvania on Saturday reported a two-day total of 16,967 positive coronavirus infections. More than 650k people in the state have tested positive for the virus since the onset of the pandemic. Tragically, over 16,000 deaths in the state have been attributed to COVID-19.

Vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff. According to the latest data, more than 132,000 Pennsylvanians have received their first of two doses of the vaccine.

"We know it is hard to ask people to be patient as we take on this unprecedented task, but patience is exactly what we need," Dr. Levine said during a press conference Monday. 

Health officials are reiterating the important to maintain the use of social distancing and masks as well. 


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