YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf announced his office has revised and lifted some of Pennsylvania's COVID-19 mitigation restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to decline and vaccination efforts are amplified across the Commonwealth.
Among the revisions announced Monday are occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor events, Wolf said.
The revised mitigations restrictions announced Monday include:
- Revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 15% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 15% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the six-foot physical distancing requirement, Wolf said.
- Revised maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 20% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. As is the case with indoor events, the 20% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the six-foot physical distancing requirement.
- Eliminate out-of-state travel restrictions. In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania. As of Monday, this order was rescinded. The current downward trend of cases nationwide and implementation of testing requirements and universal face covering on public transportation and transportation hubs are reducing the risk that interstate travel is a vector of disease transmission, Wolf said.
Hours after the announcement, reaction poured in from businesses impacted and those that wish they benefited.
"No news here for us in the restaurant industry. We continue to be strangled. He [Governor Wolf] put the foot on the back our heads, stuck us in water, and barely let us come up for air," said Matt Flinchbaugh, owner of Flinchy's Restaurant, Bar, and Deck in Camp Hill.
Flinchbaugh wishes the changed mitigation order included some better news for restaurants.
"He [Gov. Wolf] didn't lift the 25% ban up to 50. Maybe, the self-certified restaurants up to 75%. He could've given us back our bar seats that we can safely serve people at. He could also taken away the fact that you don't have to order food to order an alcoholic drink," stated Flinchbaugh.
Not being allowed to utilize bar seating Flinchbaugh says has really hurt some owners who have tried to do the right thing.
"If I was at Flinchy's right now, I could pan over the corner of the bar and show you the dividers I have that I spent $1,500 on to safely serve my customers that have just been collecting dust since, I don't even know, July?" said Flinchbaugh.
On the flip side, it's "great news" for organizations such as the York Revolution Atlantic League baseball team. Doug Eppler, a spokesperson, he hopes the number allowed at the ball park continues to rise.
"If we can all keep this going, we can get to 30, 40, 50, and as close to normalcy as we can get these days," he said. "As more people are able to get the vaccine, we hope and anticipate the Department of Health will continue to say, 'the numbers are looking good, you can open up further.' Maybe by the end of the season, we're at capacity or almost usual capacity for Peoples Bank Park."
Friday, May 28 is Opening Day for the team.
With the current increased capacity, that will allow for a little more than 1,200 fans to take one of the seats. At first, that will only include season ticket holders. As time goes on, it will also allow for group tickets. Eventually, the hope is to allow folks to buy individual tickets.
It's certainly a home-run when compared to last year's season which was cancelled
"The entire Atlantic League season was one of the many victims of COVID-19 last year," explained Eppler. "It was pretty devastating for the fans, players, and all of us on the staff, and it didn't do much for us on the bottom line either. We're frankly pretty ecstatic that the Wolf Administration is doing all that it can for businesses to get back to normal. We're not alone in missing the revenue we would've had otherwise."