Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Pennsylvania, US, order the use of face coverings in public, as of July 2. Other restrictions eased.

  • Alert Begins: 02 Jul 2020 01:51 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 30 Jul 2020 01:49 AM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Pennsylvania (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Likely business disruptions

Summary
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued an order to mandate the use of face coverings whenever residents and visitors are in public, as of July 2. State authorities had previously ordered the use of face coverings inside indoor facilities but decided to expand the instruction to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Authorities have continued to ease restrictions statewide. Starting July 3, all counties will be on the green phase of the commonwealth's economic recovery plan, which consists of three phases - red, yellow, and green - according to the level of COVID-19 recovery achieved. Lebanon and Philadelphia counties will join the other 65 counties on the green phase, July 3, which indicates the highest level of normalization. Under the measure, retail stores and businesses that are not customer-facing can operate at 75 percent capacity. Restaurants and bars can offer dine-in services at 50 percent capacity. Personal care businesses, such as barbershops and hair salons, can operate by appointment only at 50 percent capacity. Entertainment venues, including theaters, cinemas, and casinos, gyms, fitness clubs, and indoor recreation centers may operate at 50 percent capacity. Childcare centers are allowed to open, and all construction projects may resume. Gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed.

However, authorities in Allegheny county have temporarily banned the sale of alcohol within bars and restaurants, and at organized events, due to an increase in COVID-19 in the area.

Officials are urging businesses that have been able to operate with employees working from home, to continue doing so. Those open for in-person services must comply with strict mandates aimed at preventing the further spread of COVID-19, including limitations on operating capacity, use of face coverings or other personal protective equipment, and enforcement of social distancing guidelines, among other things. State park beaches, swimming pools, cabins, and lodges may also open. Most outdoor recreational facilities can operate. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and fuel stations, have not been subject to mandatory COVID-related closures.

Business disruptions remain likely. Officials could amend the order at short notice, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Advice
Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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