Pennsylvania sees loosening of some pandemic restrictions

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf rescinded some of his social distancing orders on Monday, including rules about out-of-state travel and capacity limits for public events. 

Citing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the administration said residents leaving the state no longer are required provide proof of a test negative upon return or quarantine for 14 days.

Indoor and outdoor event capacity limits have been raised to 15% and 20%, respectively. The lifted orders do not change rules for restaurants, bars, alcohol sales, wearing masks or other social distancing mandates put into place over the last year.

“Pennsylvania is taking a measured approach to revising or lifting mitigation orders,” 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.”

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 fell to just below 1,900 over the weekend as the positivity rate for tests for the week ending Feb. 18 stood at 6.5% – less than half of the rate measured during the virus’s second peak in December.

“We need to balance protecting public health with leading the state to a robust economic recovery,” Wolf said. “We are lifting mitigation efforts only when we believe it is safe to do so.”

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.

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