PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s new coronavirus restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Gov. Tom Wolf announced the new restrictions on Thursday in an effort to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases as they continue to rise across the state and country.

The restrictions impact everything from restaurants and gyms to school sports.

“This virus continues to rage in Pennsylvania and over the past few weeks, it’s become clear we need to take further mitigation actions to help Pennsylvanians and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said.

Businesses across the state have been bracing for these new restrictions as it was reported earlier this week they were on the horizon.

The new closures and restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 12 and for roughly three weeks through Jan. 4, 2021 at 8 a.m.

The virus is spreading across the commonwealth at an alarming rate and state health officials announced 10,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

“The number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by 4,400 since the end of September,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

The rules are similar to those already in effect in Philadelphia:

  • Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 people will be banned
  • Same goes for outdoor events with more than 50 people
  • Indoor dining will be prohibited
  • Indoor gyms will be shut down along with theaters, museums and casinos
  • All K through 12 youth sports and extra curricular activities will also be temporarily paused

“I don’t understand it,” Benjamin Ehrlich, of Philadelphia said. “I think gyms should be essential.”

Andrew Zalles, of Manayunk, says he is disappointed the gyms are closing down but luckily he has equipment at his house.

“You’ve just got to make the best of the situation,” Zalles said.

Eyewitness News was in Conshohocken as neighbors learned of the new restrictions. Some restaurant owners are also trying to stay positive.

“We knew what was coming down the pike. We’ve been working really hard to expand our delivery area. It does hurt the restaurant business as a whole but I’m hoping there’s a reason behind it, and I’m hoping we can all get through this as fast as possible,” Rachael Morrison, manager at Flanigan’s Boathouse, said.

Businesses in Wynnewood are trying to stay optimistic.

Delancey Street will still be open for takeout and delivery. So will neighboring Sabrina’s Cafe, though they’re still deciding whether to continue outdoor dining.

“Everyone is just going to have to buckle down and abide by what they’re saying,” Whitemarsh Township resident Joe Stoberl said. “I feel bad for the people in the business trying to make a living. Obviously, they’re in a bad spot right now.”

Wolf says the reason is to keep more people healthy and hospital space available as the state awaits the distribution of a vaccine.

“This is so frustrating and so painful but we can get there and there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Wolf said.

The new restrictions are being called temporary. They are meant to go through the holidays and expire on Jan. 4.


COVID In Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf Bans Indoor Dining, Closes Gyms, Halts High School Sports For 3 Weeks

FAQ: New Pennsylvania COVID-19 Restrictions Explained

COVID Vaccine: FDA Advisory Panel Endorses Use Of Pfizer’s Coronavirus Vaccine For Emergency Use