Governor Tom Wolf, (D, PA) announced today that he is issuing new statewide COVID-19 restrictions effective tomorrow, July 16th.
These restrictions are:
- All indoor dining: Reduced to 25% capacity
- Bars: Open for sit-down meals at tables only, bar service prohibited
- Telework: Mandated (if possible)
- Gatherings: < 25 people indoor, < 250 outdoor
While these guidelines are not as harsh as the initial lockdowns which closed all indoor dining for restaurants and bars in the Spring, they mean a severe reduction in revenue to restaurants and bars that are already reeling from revenue losses. Pennsylvania businesses have already been some of the hardest hit in the nation. The new measure announced today is roughly equivalent to the first reopening phase – or the yellow phase.
In a separate Tweet, Governor Wolf announced that there had been an “unsettling climb in new COVID-19 cases.” As many people have pointed out – what does it mean to say there are new “cases?” Does that mean someone is ill, severely ill, hospitalized? Or, does it just mean we are testing more people daily across the nation – both for active virus and for antibodies to the SAR-2 virus which can also register positive for the common cold.
Governor Wolf has already been roundly criticized for the number of COVID-19 related deaths that occurred in nursing homes – almost 70% – due to the same measures that other (Democrat) governors like New York’s Governor Cuomo – employed to move positive COVID-19 patients into nursing homes.
PA State Senator Doug Mastriano took to Twitter to denounce “the assault by the Wolf administration.” “Businesses are being placed under NEW unilateral restrictions, effective at midnight. Again, there was no consultation with lawmakers before this unenforceable flawed mandate was imposed. We need to override HR836.”
“ReopenPA” – a group dedicated to lifting all restrictions on PA businesses, posted a video of Governor Wolf touching his face mask repeatedly noting “He’s now touched the most contaminated part of his mask. All bets on what the mask would do are off.”
Pennsylvania Congressman Fred Keller issues a press release immediately following Wolf’s new restrictions saying “the new order restricting hospitality industry will kill businesses, jobs.”
Pennsylvania businesses cannot survive another Governor Wolf-imposed shutdown. The hospitality industry in particular has been one of the hardest hit by Governor Wolf’s inconsistent and confusing shutdown mandates. Many bars and restaurants spent what little Paycheck Protection Program money they have left preparing for the Governor’s 50 percent capacity mandate. Further restrictions will mean the permanent loss of family-owned businesses and the thousands of jobs they support. Governor Wolf is punishing hardworking Pennsylvanians who have done everything right.”Congressman Fred Keller, Press release 15 July 2020
ReopenPA also tweeted that” the American Association of Physicians disagrees (with the mask mandate) – which creates a false sense of security.”
Which Democrat-run state is next?