Baker Says Rising Cases And Deaths Warrant Protective Measures; Fears Wolf Approach Will Be Tough On Workers And Families In Region

(HARRISBURG) – Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) has issued the following statement regarding Governor Wolf’s latest statewide restrictions announced on Thursday afternoon.

“There is no question that we must all continue to do our part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our hospitals and healthcare providers are reaching capacity. As we see the number of cases and deaths rise almost daily, we must look at new ways to address this growing pandemic.

“Once again, it appears that the across-the-board restrictions Governor Wolf is imposing do not reflect any lessons learned from earlier misjudgments. He is going to inflict real hardships on workers, families, and communities in this region.  Employees and employers were given very little time to prepare for major disruptions of their lives. More workers will be forced to seek assistance, just as many of the emergency programs are expiring.  We continue to hear from those out of work that the unemployment compensation system is far from user-friendly or responsive to their needs.

“The governor also fails to recognize how the pandemic has magnified the disadvantages rural communities face under state policies and funding. In this instance, people living in large suburban communities have many more options for services and supplies than we do, and they are closer at hand.

“We must engage in a responsible and thoughtful dialogue that addresses the health crisis we are faced with, while also recognizing the long-term impacts that closures will have upon Pennsylvania families and our communities. A one-size-fits-all approach with these new statewide mandates does not recognize the unique challenges of our rural, suburban and urban areas of our Commonwealth, and how they have different needs.  We must care for our communities by working together – not by singling out certain groups and industries.”

The following restrictions from Governor Wolf take effect

on 12/12/2020 at 12:01 a.m. and expire 1/4/2021 at 8:00 a.m.

 In-Person Dining and Alcohol Sales

  • All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited.  
  • Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law, or this or any other Order issued by the Sec. of Health or by the governor. 

Indoor Gatherings and Events

  • Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons are prohibited. 
  • Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations set forth above during religious services, these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants at this time. While this an incredibly difficult recommendation to make, particularly at this time of year, faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor Gatherings and Events

  • Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons are prohibited.  

Capacity Limits for Businesses

  • All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit.

Gyms and Fitness Facilities

  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited. 
  • Outdoor facilities and outdoor classes can continue, but all participants must wear face coverings in accordance with the Sec. of Health’s Updated Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings, including any subsequent amendments, and practice physical distancing requirements.  

Entertainment Industry

  • All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including, but not limited to, theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are prohibited from operation.  

In-Person Extracurricular School Activities

  • Voluntary activities sponsored or approved by a school entity’s governing body or administration are suspended, but these extracurricular activities may be held virtually. This includes, but is not limited to, attendance at or participation in activities such musical ensembles, school plays, student council, clubs, and school dances.

K-12 School Sports and Youth Sports

  • All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and club, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused.

Professional and Collegiate Sports

  • Professional or collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health.
  • Spectators may not attend such sports activities in person. 
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