HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – In a virtual press conference Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf announced that COVID-19 restrictions put in place on December 12th will be lifted as planned on January 4th.
Wolf credited those who abided by mitigation efforts in order to plateau positive case numbers in the state.
“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.
Wolf also announced the launch of the Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard. It provides county by county information on the number of vaccines given and demographic information about the people being vaccinated.
PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed an order directing that a percentage of all vaccine distributions to hospitals, health systems, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and pharmacies be put aside for health care personnel. That order goes into effect January 6th.
“This order requires providers to designate at least 10 percent of each vaccine shipment received for vaccination of Phase 1A non-hospital affiliated health care personnel,” stated a release from the PA Department of Health.
“Getting Pennsylvanians immunized with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is an essential step in reducing the number of virus-related cases, hospitalizations and deaths, including all those who continue to take care of us,” Dr. Levine said. “There are nearly one million health care personnel across the commonwealth who work directly or indirectly with patients and are eligible for vaccine initially. The department will continue to follow and update our COVID-19 interim vaccination plan to address how and when all Pennsylvanians can receive their vaccine.”
Interested health care personnel not affiliated with a hospital or health system should take the following steps to ensure they can receive the vaccine:
- Review the COVID-19 interim vaccination plan, including Phase 1A sub-prioritization guidance;
- Talk with their employer to identify which type of enrolled COVID-19 vaccine provider is most appropriate;
- Find a participating location if their employer does not assign one;
- Be patient with providers;
- Schedule full vaccine regimen; and
- Provide necessary documentation when being vaccinated.
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