Nearly all COVID-19 restrictions now lifted in Pennsylvania: Here's what you need to know

Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Nearly all COVID-19 restrictions now lifted in Pennsylvania
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EASING RESTRICTIONS: Pennsylvania has lifted restaurant and business restrictions, as well as gathering limits. Philadelphia will follow later this week.

PENNSYLVANIA (WPVI) -- Memorial Day marks a milestone in Pennsylvania's reopening as businesses can welcome back customers at full capacity.

Starting Monday at 12:01 a.m. in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, businesses including restaurants, retail shops, salons and gyms can open up to full capacity, but masks are still required for those not vaccinated.

"All COVID-19 restrictions related to gatherings, restaurants, and other businesses will be lifted," Governor Tom Wolf tweeted when the changes to the mitigations orders were announced.

On the eve of returning to 100% capacity, restaurants like Gullifty's in Bryn Mawr were ready to open up every table.

"We've been getting a lot of in-person customers who are telling us this is the first time we've been out in over a year," said manager Mark Smith. "And they're so excited. People are getting excited to go out again."

Not only that, but they're getting more requests for larger groups, hoping to make up for lost time and lost events.

Starting Memorial Day in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, restaurants and businesses can open up to full capacity, but people will still be required to wear a mask indoors.

RELATED: Pennsylvania sets firm date to lift mask mandate, even if vaccination goal isn't hit

"Basketball games, football games, parents weekend, we have high school graduations coming up. Things that we didn't get last year... they're a huge part of our business," said Smith.

Crowd size limits have also been lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings in Pennsylvania. That's good news for McShea's, an Irish pub with a robust catering business in Narberth.

"In the last two weeks, we have had three to four 60, 70, 100 people events. I mean we are non-stop right now as things are opening up. It is getting crazy with catering," said head cook Brian Fertig.

REOPENING TIMELINE: How the Delaware Valley is lifting COVID-19 restrictions from May to June

At the Founding Farmers in the Town Center in King of Prussia, there is a new sign for people who are fully vaccinated: face masks are now optional.

"We feel great, we're excited to welcome all of our guests back," said Jason Bauer of Founding Farmers.

Pennsylvania plans to lift its mask mandate for the unvaccinated residents by June 28 or when 70% of adults are fully vaccinated, whichever comes first.

On May 13, Pennsylvania health officials announced the state would follow CDC's guidance for vaccinated people.

"The CDC...provided guidance that fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing except where required by law, rule, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Under the guidance, individuals are still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. In addition, all individuals will still need to follow guidance at workplaces and local businesses," the Pennsylvania Department of Health stated earlier this month.

But the management of Sweet Mabel Art and Craft shop in Narberth will require masks until vaccines are available to everyone, including children.

"We have a lot of young customers, and I have employees with young children and I just want to keep everyone safe for as long as I can," said owner Tracy Tumllo.

RELATED: Philly to drop additional COVID restrictions on June 2; Sixers, Phillies return to full capacity

In Philadelphia, capacity restrictions and social distancing rules will be removed Wednesday, June 2.

City health officials say the indoor mask mandate will stay in place for now, but that could change on June 11.