Harrisburg, PA – Some COVID-19 mitigation efforts are lifted today, including the ban on indoor dining and the ban on school extracurricular activities like sports.
That does not mean that all restrictions have been lifted entirely… the efforts that were in effect before the stronger Dec. 12 order will still be in place. That includes slightly less strict limitations on gatherings and building capacities. Masks are still required in businesses, and unnecessary travel is still not recommended.
Harrisburg, PA – The time-limited mitigation orders put in place on Dec. 12 have helped to begin flattening the curve of new cases following the post-Thanksgiving surge in Pennsylvania.
As a result, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that the time-limited orders as written will expire at 8 a.m., Jan. 4 as planned.
“Our mitigation efforts over the past several weeks are working, and I thank everyone who abided by the restrictions put in place to protect us,” Gov. Wolf said. “Every time we make a small decision to avoid risk – or take steps to make our actions a little bit less risky – we are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. At this time, my intention is to allow the time-limited mitigation orders that went into effect on December 12 to expire as planned on January 4.
Mitigation efforts that will remain in effect on Jan. 4 include:
Business, work, school, child care and congregate settings
- Child care may open, complying with guidance
- Congregate care restrictions in place
- Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities
- Schools subject to CDC and commonwealth guidance.
- Telework must continue unless impossible
- Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements
- Masks are required in businesses
- All in-person businesses may operate at 75% occupancy, except where noted
- Self-certified restaurants may open at 50% capacity for indoor dining; Restaurants that have not self-certified are at 25% capacity for indoor dining,
- On-premises alcohol consumption prohibited unless part of a meal; cocktails-to-go and carryout beverages are allowed
- Serving alcohol for on-site consumption must end at 11 p.m., and all alcoholic beverages must be removed from patrons by midnight
- Personal care services (including hair salons and barbershops) open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only
- Indoor recreation and health facilities (such as gyms and spas) open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged; fitness facilities directed to prioritize outdoor activities.
- All entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and museums) open at 50% occupancy.
- Construction at full capacity with continued implementation of protocol.
- Hospitals are still being monitored to determine if elective procedure reductions should be ordered regionally.
- The out-of-state testing requirement is still in place.
- Local governments may still have more strict guidance in place.
- Gatherings limits determined using maximum occupancy calculator.
- Face coverings are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
- Unnecessary travel should be limited.
Gov. Wolf also noted that the new Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard launched Wednesday. The dashboard provides the number of vaccinations administered by county and demographic information about the people being vaccinated.
“The dashboard and the vaccinations it tracks are two more tools in our toolbox as we stand united against COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “But the fight against this dangerous disease is not over yet. We must stay the course and continue to do everything in our power to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our families and our communities safer.”
The data on the dashboard comes from vaccine providers that are reporting information relating to the individuals to whom they administer the COVID-19 vaccine. That information is reported into the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS).
Currently, 142 hospitals, health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and pharmacies have received COVID-19 vaccine, with 56 facilities expected to receive doses this week. To date, more than 90,000 Pennsylvanians have been vaccinated. Some of these facilities have previously received vaccine, and some are receiving vaccine for the first time.
“The Federal Pharmacy Partnership (FPP) also launched this week with 126 Long-Term Care Facilities across the commonwealth scheduled to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to information provided by Operation Warp Speed.
Dr. Rachel Levine announced Wednesday that she has signed an order to ensure vaccine is available to health care providers not affiliated with a health system, federally qualified health center or pharmacy.
“Effective Jan. 6, the order I signed today requires vaccine providers, such as hospitals, federally qualified health centers and pharmacies to designate at least 10 percent of their vaccine shipments for non-affiliated health care providers to ensure there is supply available,” Dr. Levine said. “It also requires vaccine providers to set up a point of contact for these non-affiliated providers to register for vaccination appointments.,
“Many vaccine providers have already voluntarily begun vaccinating these providers and for that we are grateful. Today’s order formalizes this process and eliminates any confusion between vaccine providers and those health care personnel in Phase 1A.”
Both Dr. Levine and Gov. Wolf focused on the future, emphasizing that we must remain united against COVID.
“We can all have hope that next year will have a brighter ending than this year,” Gov. Wolf said. “And that hope should energize us to keep our guard up and continue the fight against COVID-19 in the months ahead. By working together, we can keep one another safe while we wait for the vaccine.”
Audio, video, and photos of this event are available on the PAcast website.