PA bans alcohol sales for onsite consumption on "Blackout Wednesday" in response to COVID spike | Coronavirus | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

PA bans alcohol sales for onsite consumption on "Blackout Wednesday" in response to COVID spike

Today, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced new restrictions to help mitigate Pennsylvania's rapid spread of coronavirus, and part of those restrictions includes banning alcohol sales for on-site consumption at bars and restaurants on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. This is generally considered one of the biggest bar days of the year, and is sometimes called "Blackout Wednesday."

At a press conference, Levine said that beginning Wed., Nov. 25 at 5 p.m., restaurants and bars will not be allowed to sell alcohol for on-site consumption, and that ban will continue until 8 a.m. on Thu., Nov. 26, which is Thanksgiving. Levine added that law enforcement and state agencies will be issuing fines for violators.

Today, the Allegheny County Health Department shut down two Pittsburgh nightclubs over COVID violations.
According to a press release, Gov. Tom Wolf and Levine issued this order because of new modeling projecting 22,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in Pennsylvania in December. He also warned that hospitals could run out of beds if this spike continues, and that hospitalizations are currently at higher rates than in spring.

“As our hospitals and health care system are facing greater strain, we need to redouble our efforts to keep people safe,” said Wolf in a press release. “If our health care system is compromised, it isn’t only COVID-19 patients who will suffer. If we run out of hospital beds, or if hospital staff are over-worked to the breaking point, care will suffer for every patient – including those who need emergency care for illnesses, accidents, or chronic conditions unrelated to COVID-19.”

Additionally, Wolf has also issued a health advisory for all Pennsylvanians, that will focus on reducing large gatherings, and enforcing existing orders. He advised Pennsylvanians to stay at home, but didn't issue a new stay-at-home order. Allegheny County has already issued a similar advisory, and has urged residents not to travel for Thanksgiving, even within the county.

A detailed list of the new mitigation efforts can be viewed on the governor's website

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