New restrictions on public life in Pennsylvania will take effect this week, including a one-night shutdown on alcohol sales for on-site consumption Wednesday evening, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the state.
Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced the new restrictions and recommendations as she said "transmission of COVID-19 is reaching new heights."
Among those restrictions will be a temporary shutdown of all alcohol sales for on-site consumption on Thanksgiving Eve, which is traditionally a night that many people return to their hometowns and go out drinking with childhood friends.
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"The biggest day for drinking is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving," Gov. Wolf said at the same press conference. "When people get together in that situation, it leads to an exchange in fluids which leads to an increase in infections."
The governor asked that everyone forgo drinking at bars and restaurants on Thanksgiving Eve "this one time" in order to help stop the spread of the virus.
Levine and the Centers for Disease Control have urged people not to travel for Thanksgiving.
“As our hospitals and health care system are facing greater strain, we need to redouble our efforts to keep people safe,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “If our health care system is compromised, it isn’t only COVID-19 patients who will suffer. If we run out of hospital beds, or if hospital staff are over-worked to the breaking point, care will suffer for every patient – including those who need emergency care for illnesses, accidents, or chronic conditions unrelated to COVID-19.”
In the most recent press conference by Levine last Thursday, she noted that coronavirus cases exploded in the last several days. They reached 7,126 last week, a single-day record for new cases. It was 500 cases more than the previous single-day record earlier in the week.
The 14-day rolling average for new daily hospitalizations jumped more than 1,200 since the end of September, Levine said last week.
Also last week, Philadelphia announced a citywide ban on indoor dining, fitness centers and public gatherings of more than 10 people.
Levine said projections estimate daily new cases in Pennsylvania could eventually reach 20,000.