Pennsylvania businesses hoping to bounce back as restrictions ease

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Additional restrictions that were imposed in Pennsylvania almost three weeks ago to combat the COVID-19 pandemic expired Monday morning.

"This does not mean that we're out of the woods. Not by any means," Wolf said during an online news conference. "We still have significant mitigation orders in place."

Wolf's coronavirus restrictions expired at 8 a.m., allowing places like gyms to reopen at 50% capacity. Child care can reopen and entertainment venues like museums and theaters can reopen at 50% capacity. Wolf also says restaurants can resume indoor dining at 25% to 50% capacity.

Restaurant operators and patrons were happy indoor dining was back Monday evening.

"It's awesome. It's very exciting and we're glad to have everybody back," said Tim Hemcher of The Great American Pub.

At The Goats Beard in Wayne, customers were delighted to be back inside for their food and drink.

"It's a joy to be back indoors. We're not sitting outside freezing, but they're here to support us, we're here to support them," said Bob Rosato of Wayne.

"It's really important to us living in this community to be here for them and they've been here for us, so we just wanna make it work and hopefully reopen fully," said Layla Lyons of Wayne.

That's music to the ears of Goat's Beard owner Sean Coyle.

"Well first and foremost, I'm happy that I can hire some people back. We hired about 22 people back here, kitchen and front house staff part-time until it starts growing a little bit," said Coyle.

Restaurants must still go through a self-certification process in order to operate at 50% capacity, otherwise, they are limited to 25% capacity.

"It's just great to have our 50% capacity, which is not 100%, but it's 50%, so we're happy to have our space back," said Diana Tigre of Plaza Azteca.

Those hitting the gym were just as excited early Monday morning.

"I feel safe because everybody is following the rules and keeping their masks on, keeping their mask up," said Jason Jenkins, who made a stop at the LA Fitness in Bala Cynwyd on Monday.

At 3D Fitness in Penn Valley, members again were elated to meet with trainers in a more socially distant environment.

"I don't do anything like this at home, so I missed it a lot," said member Hennie Shore.

At Snap Fitness in Ardmore, owner Ed Radlow said his check-in checklist is among some of the stringent precautions he's taking to ensure members stay safe.

SEE ALSO: PA COVID restrictions: Here's what's allowed to reopen in Philadelphia

He credits those members with helping him survive the latest shutdown, which has devastated other gyms.

"They allowed me to bill them during closure, which if they hadn't done that, we wouldn't be here," Radlow said.

Despite Wolf's announcement, Philadelphia leaders previously announced an extension of the citywide COVID-19 restrictions.

Daniel Davidson, who owns CrossFit Main Line, says after the first lockdown, he lost about 30% of his clients.

"We lost that ability to market, bring athletes through the door, and show them the facility, and sign them up. With the second wave shut down, we lost clients again," said Davidson.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 3,226 additional positive cases of COVID-19 on Monday, in addition to 4,579 new cases reported Sunday, January 3 for a two-day total of 7,805 additional positive cases of COVID-19. This brings the statewide total to 665,097.

There are 5,529 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, near double the peak in the spring. Of that number, 1,149 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19.



Mitigation efforts that will remain in effect in Pennsylvania past January 4 include:

Business, work, school, child care and congregate settings
- Child care may open, complying with guidance

- Congregate care restrictions in place

- Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities

- Schools subject to CDC and commonwealth guidance.

- Telework must continue unless impossible

- Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements

- Masks are required in businesses

- All in-person businesses may operate at 75% occupancy, except where noted

- Self-certified restaurants may open at 50% capacity for indoor dining; Restaurants that have not self-certified are at 25% capacity for indoor dining,

- On-premises alcohol consumption prohibited unless part of a meal; cocktails-to-go and carryout beverages are allowed

- Serving alcohol for on-site consumption must end at 11 p.m., and all alcoholic beverages must be removed from patrons by midnight

- Personal care services (including hair salons and barbershops) open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only

- Indoor recreation and health facilities (such as gyms and spas) open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged; fitness facilities directed to prioritize outdoor activities.

- All entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and museums) open at 50% occupancy.

- Construction at full capacity with continued implementation of protocol.

- Hospitals are still being monitored to determine if elective procedure reductions should be ordered regionally.

- The out-of-state testing requirement is still in place.

- Local governments may still have more strict guidance in place.

Social Restrictions:
- Gatherings limits determined using maximum occupancy calculator.

- Face coverings are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.

- Unnecessary travel should be limited.

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