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Pennsylvania Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions On Memorial Day

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania will lift all COVID-19 restrictions — except an order to wear a mask while in public — on Memorial Day, the Wolf administration announced Tuesday.

Capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants and indoor and outdoor gatherings will go away on May 31, more than a year into the pandemic.

The state made the announcement with little fanfare, via news release.

“We continue to make significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and as more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said in the statement.

The Health Department said an order requiring people to wear masks while away from home will be lifted once 70% of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated. That percentage stood at nearly 42% on Tuesday, according to federal data, while 63% of those 18 and older had at least one dose.

Pennsylvania revised its masking order last week to bring it in line with new federal recommendations that say fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear them outside anymore unless they’re at a crowded event.

The Health Department said that municipalities and school districts can continue to impose their own restrictions. And other state mandates, including a requirement that hospitals and long-term care facilities report new infections, will remain.

Tuesday’s announcement promised relief for the state’s beleaguered restaurant industry, which has complained for months about capacity restrictions.

“The definitive timeline will allow owners and operators time to plan, but for far too many businesses who shuttered over the last few months, this announcement is too late,” said John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.

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