Pa. announces new COVID-19 occupancy limits

    Governor Tom Wolf speaking with the press. Governor Tom Wolf today presented his fall legislative agenda for worker and family support and protections, COVID-19 recovery, and government reform. The initiatives were introduced to focus the General Assembly after a spring and summer of Republican efforts to curtail the administration’s efforts to manage the pandemic and keep the public safe. Harrisburg, PA – August 25, 2020

    The Wolf administration has announced new guidelines for indoor and outdoor events. The previous limits were 25 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events. A new scale the administration announced Tuesday will now tie those limits to a venue’s maximum occupancy. The new rules take effect on Friday, Oct. 9, the administration said in a statement.

    “Regardless of the size of an event or gathering, those things are still imperative to stopping the spread of COVID,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “We know everyone has sacrificed in many ways and today’s announcement reflects a gradual adjustment to our lives as we learn how we can do things safely until we have a cure, or an effective vaccine is widely available.”

    Through midday Tuesday, state health officials had confirmed 165,243 COVID-19 cases in all 67 counties, with 8,244 confirmed fatalities.

    For indoor events, according to the administration:

    Maximum Occupancy
    Allowable Indoor Rate 
    0-2,000 people
    20% of Maximum Occupancy
    2,001 – 10,000 people
    15% of Maximum Occupancy
    Over 10,000 people
    10% of Maximum Occupancy up to 3,750 people

     

    For outdoor events, according to the administration:

    Maximum Occupancy
    Allowable Outdoor Rate 
    0-2,000 people
    25% of Maximum Occupancy
    2,001 – 10,000 people
    20% of Maximum Occupancy
    Over 10,000 people
    15% of Maximum Occupancy up to 7,500 people

     

    Under the administration’s guidelines, venues must still observe 6-foot social distancing requirements. Patrons must continue to wear masks or face-coverings and operators should continue such best practices as maintaining timed entry, multiple entry and exit points, multiple restrooms and hygiene stations, the administration said.

    “We will closely monitor cases and outbreaks and if our case investigation and contact tracing efforts determine that events or gatherings are the source of an outbreak, we can and will dial back these new limits,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “Public health and safety are our first concern and will always remain as such.”

    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press