Gov. Tom Wolf announced new statewide restrictions earlier today in response to an increase of COVID-19 cases throughout the Commonwealth.
Wolf said that bars and restaurants are required to stop selling alcohol on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. for one night to limit the amount of drinking before the holiday.
He is also advising everyone to stay home for Thanksgiving.
“This is an advisory,” Wolf said at the press conference. “That all Pennsylvanians, in order to stay safe, ought to stay home. It is vital that every single Pennsylvanian takes these mitigation steps seriously.”
He said that he signed a virus-truncated state budget that will last from Dec. 1 to June 30 as a way to limit large gatherings and continue to enforce mitigation orders.
Some of the new orders that Wolf announced include requiring hospitals to reduce admissions for elective procedures by 50 percent, requiring public school officials in counties with high COVID-19 transmission to sign attestations, more recommendations for municipal and county leaders on implementing virus related directives and a new revision that will protect businesses, customers and employees.
Wolf announced the new maximum limit of indoor gatherings is 500 people and 2,500 outdoors.
Wolf said there will be stricter mask policies in businesses. He said the first time a business is caught violating mask orders there will be a warning issued, the second time the store would be required to close for 24 hours and the third time would lead to another 24-hour closure and a fine.
Wolf said that more people are getting sicker at a faster rate, but the state is in a better position now to handle the pandemic than it was last spring. He said there is more protective equipment available, more ventilators and more knowledge.
The state of Pennsylvania reported about 12,000 more COVID-19 cases over a two-day period, 4,762 more on Nov. 23 and 7,075 on Nov. 22. State deaths are reaching 10,000. The number of people hospitalized is close to 3,500 and the positivity rate has reached 11.1 percent. There are a total of 314,401 cases in the state since the pandemic began in March.
The Lehigh Valley reported 147 new cases on Monday including 144 in Northampton County.