HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced Thursday new mitigation efforts to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.

Those new mitigation efforts include:


  • All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited. 
  • Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law, or this or any other Order issued by the Sec. of Health or by the governor.  

Indoor Gatherings and Events:

  • Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons are prohibited. 
  • Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations set forth above during religious services, these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants at this time. While this an incredibly difficult recommendation to make, particularly at this time of year, faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor Gatherings:

  • Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons are prohibited.  

Capacity Limit for businesses:

  • All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit. 

Gyms/Fitness Facilities:

  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited. 
  • Outdoor facilities and outdoor classes can continue, but all participants must wear face coverings in accordance with the Sec. of Health’s Updated Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings, including any subsequent amendments, and practice physical distancing requirements.

Entertainment Industry:

  • All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including, but not limited to, theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are prohibited from operation.  

In-Person School Extracurricular Activies:

  • Voluntary activities sponsored or approved by a school entity’s governing body or administration are suspended, but these extracurricular activities may be held virtually. This includes, but is not limited to, attendance at or participation in activities such musical ensembles, school plays, student council, clubs, and school dances.

K-12 School Sports and Youth Sports:

  • All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and clubs, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused. More information on local sports can be found here.

Professional/Collegiate Sports:

  • Professional or collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health.
  • Spectators may not attend such sports activities in person.

The new, limited-time mitigation orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. on December 12, and remain in effect until 8 a.m. on January 4, 2021.

Pennsylvania has seen a very sharp increase in new cases of COVID-19 in the recent weeks, and health officials are worried about the hospital systems becoming too crowded. Wolf says he hopes these mitigation efforts help slow the spread and ease the stress on our hospitals.

Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine urge the importance of all Pennsylvanians to adhere to social distancing guidelines and to wear a face mask any time you may be around anyone who is not from your household.