Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday said that maximum occupancy for events and gatherings in Pennsylvania will increase beginning next week.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, maximum occupancy will increase from 25% to 50% for indoor gatherings and from 50% to 75% for outdoor gatherings.
The increase will come two weeks before the commonwealth is set to lift all COVID-19 mitigation orders — with the exception of masking requirements — on Memorial Day.
“As more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with the commonwealth’s reopening efforts,” Wolf said in a statement. “We recognize the significant strain businesses have faced during COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Throughout the last year and half, we have seen businesses continue to put the safety of their patrons first and I believe they will continue to do so even with this capacity increase.”
According to Wolf’s office, an event or gathering is defined as “a temporary grouping of individuals for defined purposes, that takes place over a limited timeframe, such as hours or days.” Examples include “fairs, festivals, concerts or shows and groupings that occur within larger, more permanent businesses, such as shows or performances within amusements parks, individual showings of movies on a single screen/auditorium within a multiplex, business meetings or conferences, or each party or reception within a multiroom venue.”
Face coverings are still required indoors and outdoors. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks during certain activities, such as when participating in outdoor activities, except in crowded settings.
The Wolf administration previously announced that the mask order would be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated against the virus.
“During the pandemic, all Pennsylvanians have worked collaboratively to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said. “We must continue that same mindset during our reopening efforts. I urge each eligible Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated to help protect your neighbors and loved ones as we work to safely reopen our beloved commonwealth communities.”
Tuesday’s announcement does not prevent municipalities, school districts and businesses from enforcing their own stricter measures, Wolf said.
Masking requirements were updated to simply follow Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidance.
The limit on indoor and outdoor residential gatherings in the borough increases from 10 people to 25. Gathering capacity in borough parks and other municipal property increases from 25 to 50 people. The ordinance ordinance includes a number of exceptions for capacity limits and does not apply to non-residential or non-municipal properties like businesses and schools.
The amended ordinance also eliminates the 10-person limit and social distancing requirements for waiting lines outside businesses. It now only requires that people waiting in line wear masks.