Politics

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Imposes New Lockdowns, Bans Indoor Dining, Large Gatherings

(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

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Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that the state would begin a three-week partial lockdown on Dec. 12 amidst a rise in coronavirus cases.

“Today I am announcing additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures in the commonwealth,” Wolf said in a statement. “With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals: First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Second, keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvania get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine–as safely as possible.”

“This is a bridge to a better future in Pennsylvania,” Wolf, who announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus, continued. (RELATED: Alcohol Sales In Pennsylvania Suspended The Night Before Thanksgiving)

The order, which remains in effect through Jan. 4, prohibits indoor dining but allows for outdoor dining and take-out service to continue.

Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited but outdoor gatherings of up to 50 persons are allowed.

Businesses must operate at half capacity and gyms and fitness centers can’t host any indoor operations.

Religious services are “specifically excluded,” but the guidelines encourage churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship to find alternative ways to worship that don’t include any in-person gatherings.

“Faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19,” the guidance reads.

As of Thursday, the state has seen more than 12,000 deaths statewide and nearly half a million cases since the pandemic began, according to the Department of Health.

Just this week alone the state has recorded 1,100 deaths, according to the governor.