The Wolf administration announced Tuesday that Pennsylvania will lift its COVID-19 mitigation orders on Memorial Day. After more than a year, restrictions on restaurants, bars and indoor and outdoor gatherings will be eliminated.
However, Philadelphia will review the state’s policy but retain its own restrictions. Meanwhile officials keep working on the city’s reopening plans.
As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announcement keeps in place the requirement for Pennsylvanians to wear masks in compliance with state and CDC guidelines. It also gives residents an incentive to get COVID-19 shots: Masking will be required until 70% of the state’s 18-and-older population is vaccinated.
The lifting of mitigation orders mean that restaurants, bars, stores, salons, gyms, theaters, event venues, nightclubs, and other businesses can open at 100% capacity, and crowd-size limits will be lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Effective May 31, we are lifting COVID mitigation orders.
The masking order will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) May 4, 2021
Schools will no be required to report their coronavirus prevention measures to the state. Cleaning, and distancing measures for business owners are also lifted, though the Department of Health encouraged all to follow CDC guidance.
The announcement released by Wolf’s office referred also to hospitals. “Requirements such as testing and reporting new cases will remain in place for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Maintaining requirements for hospitals and long-term care facilities will allow Pennsylvania to continue to closely monitor COVID-19 spread while lifting other restrictions.”
“As more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” acting Secretary Health Alison Beam said in the statement.
Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, called the lifting of mitigation orders announcement “the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel and a return to sense of ‘normalcy.’”
The announcement came one day after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that the Garden State will fully reopen May 19, but with masking and social distancing requirements still in place. New York and Connecticut are following the same plan, and Delaware Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday that his state will lift most of its restrictions May 21.