As COVID-19 cases continue to decline and the state’s vaccination plan is amplified, the Wolf Administration lifted mitigation restrictions that are effective statewide today.
“Pennsylvania is taking a measured approach to revising or lifting mitigation orders,” Gov. Wolf said. “The reason we are seeing cases drop can be attributed, in part, to people following the mitigation efforts we have in place. Mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene are making a difference and need to continue even as we see more and more people fully vaccinated. We need to balance protecting public health with leading the state to a robust economic recovery. We are lifting mitigation efforts only when we believe it is safe to do so.”
The revised mitigations restrictions announced today include:
- Revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 15% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 15% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
- Revised maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 20% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 20% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
- Eliminate out-of-state travel restrictions. In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania. Today, this order was rescinded. The current downward trend of cases nationwide and implementation of testing requirements and universal face covering on public transportation and transportation hubs are reducing the risk that interstate travel is a vector of disease transmission.
Along with these changes, there is caution. Reduced cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and the more than 2.3 million vaccinations are good signs, but the CDC advises that now is not the time to introduce expansive loosening of mitigation efforts known to put people at more risk. New cases of variants continue to appear, and some experts warn of a fourth surge in cases.
The state considered broad range of data for today’s announcement and when considering lifting additional restrictions including (all data is as of Feb. 26):
- Percent of population receiving at least one dose of vaccine: 14 percent of the population under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health has received at least one dose of vaccine; if you remove those under age 16, the percentage increases to 16.9.
- Percent positivity; this stands at 6.3%
- The incidence rate per 100,000 residents; this stands at 101.3 over a 7-day period; and
- Hospital bed capacity (availability) stands at 41%.
The Acting Secretary of Health’s revised order on gatherings can be found here.
The Acting Secretary of Health’s order rescinding travel restrictions can be found here.
Find FAQs for the mitigation order changes here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Targeted-Mitigation-FAQ.aspx
More information is available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.