Pennsylvania announces new temporary COVID-19 restrictions, including limits on funeral services

by | Dec 11, 2020 | Articles, COVID-19, Death Care

The below information is current as of the publication date listed. Because COVID-19 response measures on all fronts are continually evolving, clients should stay alert to new developments and consult with counsel on any critical questions.

With COVID-19 cases “raging across Pennsylvania” to an all-time high and straining health care providers, Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued orders on December 10, 2020, which impose significant restrictions on activities to mitigate the impact of the virus over the next three weeks.

Indoor gatherings and events, including funerals, are limited to 10 people. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are excluded from this limitation during religious services, but these institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce physical distancing and other mitigation measures during services.

Outdoor gatherings, such as graveside or other cemetery services, are limited to 50 people.  

All in-person businesses serving the public within a building or defined area may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum occupancy capacity.

Other restrictions include a prohibition on in-person indoor dining, gyms, and entertainment facilities and a suspension of interscholastic sports and in-person extracurricular activities.

These new mitigation measures take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2020. They remain in place until January 4, 2021 at 8:00 a.m.

Other provisions of the Governor’s November 23, 2020 order concerning telework, cleaning, other mitigation protocols, and enforcement remain in effect.

The full announcement can be found here, and the Department of Health’s frequently asked questions can be found here.

Saxton & Stump attorney Jason Benion is available to assist death care businesses and professionals with these and other issues regarding operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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