Commonwealth Issues New Holiday Season Mitigation Orders

The temporary new orders include the following: 

Minutes before the beginning of Hannukah, Gov. Tom Wolf and state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued temporary new mitigation orders for Pennsylvania, which will extend over the Christmas season and expire after New Year’s Day.  The effective date is tonight, (12:01 AM) Saturday, December 12 and will expire at 8 a.m. on the first business day of the new year, January 4, which is also  township reorganization meeting day. They cited increasing case counts, continuing record deaths from COVID-19, and an increasing strain on the health system as reasons for the mitigation, as well as cited recent studies. 

Temporary indoor gathering limits of 10 and outdoor gathering limits of 50. 

Business capacity limits are reduced 50% of maximum facility capacity. 

  • In-person extracurricular school activities are suspended. 
  • K-12 and youth sports are suspended. Professional and collegiate sports may continue without spectators. 
  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited. 
  • In-person dining is suspended, but outdoor dining and takeout of food and alcohol will continue. 
  • In-person, indoor entertainment businesses must close, including movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, theaters, and concert venues. 

The temporary orders, as well as the mitigation orders issued on November 27 do not exempt local governments from compliance.

The following mitigation orders issued in November remain in effect: 

  • Orders for businesses maintaining in-person operations, including telework unless impossible and online sales and curbside pickup for all shopping. The order contains cleaning protocols and employee and customer safety provisions that all businesses, as well as local governments are to follow. Employers should make the best decisions to protect the health and safety of their employees.    
  • The stay-at-home advisory remains in effect until January 4. The advisory urges, but does not require, Pennsylvanians to leave home only for work, school, essential needs, or medical care, wear a mask, and practice physical distancing when not at home, including in another home.  

Finally, in the orders, local governments are given the option/discretion to enact more stringent regulations for their communities if warranted.