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Gov. Tom Wolf lifts all COVID restrictions except mask wearing on Memorial Day

Pennsylvania will lift all COVID-19 restrictions except the order to wear a mask in public on Memorial Day, the Wolf administration announced.

The decision to no longer restrict capacity on restaurants, bars or indoor and outdoor gatherings on May 31 was made in partnership with the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force.

Pennsylvanians will continue to be required to wear masks until 70% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the commonwealth. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks in certain situations, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  More details on masking for those already vaccinated can be found here.

“As more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” said Alison Beam, acting secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health in a statement. “I encourage Pennsylvanians to take the critical steps needed to put this pandemic behind us by getting vaccinated, follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing and social distancing.”

The mitigation updates will not prevent municipalities and school districts from ​continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts.

For Pennsylvania restaurants and hotels, the news is a relief, according to John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“The PRLA welcomes Governor Wolf’s announcement to loosen mitigation standards as vaccination rates continue to rise and positive cases decline,” Longstreet said. “As a major economic driver throughout the Commonwealth, the hospitality industry needs further support to regain a sense of normalcy to attract its workforce, retain a consistent customer base and meet ever-changing mitigation standards.”

All Pennsylvanians ages 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available on the Department of Health’s website. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is a career journalist who believes that good journalism can change the world. As the health care reporter, she covers everything from small town medicine to big pharma. You can also find her chasing a good business story in Berks County. She can be reached at dnixon@bridgetowermedia.com. or 610-807-9619, extension 4118.

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