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Pennsylvania easing size restrictions on gatherings

March 1, 2021 News Extra

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is easing restrictions on large gatherings and eliminating a quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers, reflecting a sustained slide in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the Wolf administration announced Monday.

Outdoor venues are now allowed to host events up to 20% of their maximum capacity, regardless of venue size. Indoor occupancy will be 15% of maximum capacity, regardless of venue size, state officials said.

For both indoor and outdoor events, venues must require masks and follow physical distancing guidelines, state officials said.

Additionally, the state is doing away with a requirement that people who are traveling to Pennsylvania from another state, as well as Pennsylvania residents who are returning home from out of state, must test negative for the virus within 72 hours prior to arrival. Under the order, people who refused to be tested were required to quarantine for 14 days.

The changes take place immediately.

"We need to balance protecting public health with leading the state to a robust economic recovery," Gov. Tom Wolf said in a news release. "We are lifting mitigation efforts only when we believe it is safe to do so."

On Friday, Philadelphia officials said it would allow events and gatherings to expand to state capacity, including sporting events.

State officials said they took into account the expanding percentage of residents who have been vaccinated, as well as the COVID-19 test positivity rate, the rate of new infections and hospital capacity, in deciding to ease restrictions.

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