VALLEY FORGE, Pa. - Pennsylvania is bumping up capacity limits on indoor and outdoor events on Monday as America begins to slowly emerge from the coronavirus pandemic that ravaged the country for more than a year.
Beginning at midnight large indoor events like weddings, proms and conventions can welcome up to 50% of the room's maximum occupancy. Outdoor spaces, which health officials believe limit the spread of COVID-19, can bump up to 75% capacity.
The modest increase in occupancy comes two weeks before Pennsylvania takes an enormous step forward in its return to normalcy. Gov. Tom Wolf will let lift all capacity restrictions and reduce social distancing requirements on Memorial Day, meaning restaurants and businesses can fill to pre-pandemic levels.
Pennsylvania will raise capacity restriction on Monday to 50% at indoor events and 75% at outdoor events.
After Memorial Day weekend there won't be many mitigation restrictions left for the state to repeal. Pennsylvania has already adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated mask-wearing guidelines, which allow fully vaccinated people to shed the mask in most indoor and outdoor situations.
Of course, businesses are free to uphold any mitigation effort they believe is necessary for maintaining the health and safety of customers. Some national chains, including Walmart, Starbucks, and Trader Joe's, have already repealed masks in states following the new guidance.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health said it will completely remove its mask mandate, which is still in place for unvaccinated people, once 70% of the adult population is inoculated against COVID-19. On Saturday the state reported 54% of adults have at least one shot and 48% are fully protected.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia continues to forge ahead in its reopening plan independently from Pennsylvania. Philly has not yet adopted the new CDC guidance on masks for vaccinated people but teased a decision in the coming days. City officials said they plan to lift most capacity and distancing limits on June 11.
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