Allegheny County tries to halt virus spread with one-week closure of bars, restaurants, and casinos | Health | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Allegheny County tries to halt virus spread with one-week closure of bars, restaurants, and casinos

Only a few weeks after it opened back up, restaurant dining is shutting down again, along with bars, who were ordered to stop serving on-site alcohol last week, and casinos. After an alarmingly quick rise in cases this week, Allegheny County has issued an order for the closures, as well as the cancellation of all events over 25 people.

On Tue., June 30, Allegheny County hit triple digit COVID-19 case numbers for the first time since the pandemic began with 109 cases. By Thu., July 2, the number of cases had jumped to 233.

The Allegheny County order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Fri., July 3.

“I know that people were angry and frustrated with recent developments including the surge in cases, the prior order and recommendations, as well as the state mask order,” said Debra Bogen, Allegheny County Health Director in a press release. “I also realize that this newest order won’t make any of that better, but as Health Department Director, I am charged with protecting, promoting, and preserving the health and well-being of all county residents, particularly the most vulnerable. This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly, but I believe it’s necessary based on the new cases in the county and the community spread that is occurring.”

The order comes after reports of several restaurants in the area having to close down after employees tested positive for the virus. Bogen said earlier this week that the rise in recent cases were linked to people going to bars and traveling out of state, not attending recent protests.

The press release noted that the limit of gatherings more than 25 people included movie theaters, sporting events, meetings, and other group activities. Religious gatherings are excluded from the order.

The county has also recommended for residents to stay home and avoid non-necessary travel, though neither are mandatory. On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) issued a statement that Pennsylvanians traveling to 14 states currently experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and others, quarantine at home for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.

On July 1, Wolf also issued an order requiring Pennsylvanians to wear a face mask whenever leaving the house and in all public spaces.

The one-week closure order announced today lasts until July 10 at 12 a.m. The county did not state whether they will extend the order if cases continue to rise.