New COVID-19 Restrictions Announced in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia

December 11, 2020 Updated: December 11, 2020

A wave of new restrictions to curb the transmission of COVID-19 have been issued across Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, amid a surge in CCP virus cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in the states.

The announcements of new measures in the three states came just days after the United States logged the biggest single-day CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus death toll. More than 3,000 people perished from the virus on Dec. 9, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Oklahoma

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday that statewide COVID-19 mitigation measures will be implemented statewide to bring the state closer to its “three goals” of protecting the health and lives of Oklahomans, keeping businesses open safely, and getting the state’s children safely back in school.

The governor updated an executive order that limits public gatherings to 50 percent capacity. Indoor sporting events will be limited and restaurants and bars must close by 11 p.m., except for take-out and drive-thru, the order states.  

Masks will continue to be required for all state employees and visitors in state agency buildings, Stitt said.

“I know this is a challenge, and these actions will personally affect many Oklahomans. I want you to know I don’t take them lightly, but right now our healthcare workers, hospitals, students, teachers, and small business owners need our help,” Stitt said. 

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at a roundtable at the White House in Washington, on June 18, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

He encouraged Oklahomans to continue practicing safety protocols during the upcoming holiday season and to follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidelines for quarantine.

Stitt noted that 166,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses will be shipped to Oklahoma in the coming three weeks.

“It’s not the end of our challenges, but the end is coming,” he said. “Now is the time to do more in our fight. A vaccine is on the way, but it’s not here yet. It’s up to every one of us to slow the spread. I’m asking everyone to join together for another push so we can get to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Pennsylvania

Beginning Saturday, indoor dining in restaurants will not be permitted in the state, Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine announced. The “temporary mitigation measures” will remain in place until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4.

Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales may continue, while indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 people are prohibited, Wolf said. Outdoor gatherings can have no more than 50 people.

“In-person businesses that serve the public will be able to operate at 50% of maximum capacity—except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit,” Wolf said in a statement. “Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities will be suspended. In-person, indoor businesses in the entertainment industry that serve the public will close. This includes casinos, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, and more.”

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (L) and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, in a file photo. (Office of the Governor)

He noted that sports for K-12 students, and in-person extracurricular school activities will also be suspended. Professional and collegiate sports may continue in accordance with guidance from CDC and the state department of health, he said, adding that spectators may not attend these events in person.

“COVID thrives where people gather together,” Wolf said. “The measures announced today will target high-risk environments and aim to slow the devastating spread of the virus.”

Virginia

Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam meanwhile signed an executive order (pdf) that includes a “modified stay at home order” which goes into effect Monday and will remain in place until at least Jan. 31.

Governor Northam
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks in Richmond, Virginia, on Dec. 10, 2019. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

A 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. ET curfew for all state residents will be imposed, with the exception of getting food or essential goods; seeking medical attention; or going to or coming home from work, school, or religious services. Indoor social gatherings will be limited to 10 people.

“New daily case numbers are higher than they have been at any previous point in the pandemic, and while the trends in Virginia are better than most of the country, we are taking action now to slow the spread of this virus before our hospitals get overwhelmed. … if you don’t have to be out, stay at home,” Northam said.