HARRISBURG (AP) — Additional restrictions that were imposed in Pennsylvania almost three weeks ago to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will expire as expected early next week, Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday.
“This does not mean that we’re out of the woods. Not by any means,” Wolf said during an online news conference. "We still have significant mitigation orders in place.”
Wolf says that on Monday morning, the regulations he imposed as of Dec. 12 will end. Wolf temporarily halted school sports and other extracurricular activities, closed gyms, theaters and casinos, and banned indoor dining at restaurants in response to the worsening pandemic.
The restrictions have included an indoor gathering limit of 10, an outdoor gathering limit of 50 and capacity restrictions at retail stores.
The temporary ban on sports has extended to K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and sports at the club, travel, recreational and intramural levels.
Republican state lawmakers and business groups have opposed the additional restrictions, and on Wednesday state House Republicans called them unwise and unwarranted.
“When we return to session next week, the House Republican Caucus will begin work on an economic recovery plan for all Pennsylvanians that will help ensure these destructive shutdowns and restrictions never happen again," said House GOP spokesperson Jason Gottesman.
The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association said it welcomed the end of the three-week ban on in-person dining, but noted the closure came during what is normally a lucrative holiday period for bars and restaurants.
The association asked lawmakers to authorize grants to help the hospitality sector of the economy. It also called on Wolf to allow patrons to sit at bars, saying that such a policy change would provide relief to corner bars and similar small taverns that do not have room for tables where indoor dining is currently permitted.