Gov. Tom Wolf and state health authorities announced a number of new measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 Monday, including a requirement that bars and restaurants stop serving alcohol at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The eve of Thanksgiving is a traditional night for partying, as people travel to celebrate the holiday, and it’s usually big business for pubs and eateries.
Limits on on-site alcohol sale and consumption will only be implemented Wednesday.
Unlike Philadelphia, which banned indoor dining on Friday, eating inside at restaurants has generally been permitted in the rest of the state.
Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine rolled out additional restrictions, including stricter limits on gatherings, increased controls on schools offering in-person classes and tighter restrictions on indoor and outdoor events.
Enforcement of existing regulations, including those applying to out-of-state travel and mask wearing, will also be ramped up, officials said.
“We are in a very dangerous situation, and we need to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 right now because if we give in to the virus, we will lose many more Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said in a statement. “And that is unacceptable.”
New modeling projects Pennsylvania is on track to record 22,000 new COVID cases a day and run out of intensive care beds by December, state officials said. If the trajectory of the pandemic doesn’t change, the state’s virus death toll could reach 32,000 in late February, according to the models.
A total of 9,870 people have died of virus-related illness in Pennsylvania since the start of the pandemic, a number that has been growing in recent days.
There were 3,379 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state Monday, including 631 in Philadelphia.
On Monday, city officials recorded one additional death and 2,412 new cases since Friday afternoon, while Pennsylvania reported a combined 11,837 positive tests Sunday and Monday.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is “strongly encouraging” residents to celebrate Thanksgiving only with members of their household.
In addition, officials said people should shop early or at off hours to avoid large crowds at the grocery store.