All 12.8 million Pennsylvanians will have to stay home at least through that date, said Wolf, extending his existing stay-at-home order by another eight days.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday set May 8 as the target launch date for a gradual easing of some restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, saying Pennsylvania had made sufficient progress against COVID-19 to warrant a gradual reopening of the economy.
All 12.8 million Pennsylvanians will have to stay home at least through that date, said Wolf, extending his existing stay-at-home order by another eight days. But he suggested it might then be lifted in areas of the state where the new coronavirus — which has killed more than 1,200 Pennsylvania residents — does not pose as great of a threat.
Pennsylvania will also ease some restrictions on building construction and vehicle sales, Wolf announced at a video news conference as hundreds of protesters, defying a ban on mass gatherings, staged an anti-shutdown rally at the Capitol.
“We are taking small steps toward regaining a degree of normalcy in Pennsylvania,” said Wolf. He suggested that more businesses might be allowed to reopen in early May if Pennsylvania continues to make progress in its fight against the virus.
On Monday he announced that he is signing online-notary legislation that will pave the way for online vehicle sales. Limited building construction work may resume on May 8, he said. More industry sectors might be opened by then, depending on the availability of virus testing and the capacity of the health care system, Wolf said.
In Other Coronavirus News
Many commercial buildings that serve the public are now required to make sure customers wear masks — and deny entry to anyone who refuses without a medically valid reason — under an order signed last week by Wolf’s health secretary.
The order, which took effect Sunday night, is meant to protect critical workers who can’t stay home and are at heightened risk of contracting the new coronavirus, Wolf has said.
Workers at places including supermarkets, home improvement centers, warehouses, manufacturing facilities and other businesses that remain open during the pandemic also must wear a mask.
The mask mandate was included in a wide-ranging order that governs many aspects of how a business operates, from how it arranges its break room to how many patrons it can allow inside at any one time.
Business owners and managers who discover an exposure to someone who is infected must follow certain protocols, including deep cleaning of the premises and temperature checks of employees before they enter.
Employees must be sent home if they have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.
Wolf previously closed schools and businesses deemed nonessential, and ordered residents to stay home unless making a trip related to health, safety or some other life necessity.
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