Federal judge rules Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus shutdown orders are unconstitutional
Reaction from Pennsylvania Rep. Fred Keller, Republican member of the House Oversight Committee.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, whose administration said last week that masks are now required indoors, announced new rules on Monday to combat resurgent coronavirus cases. Among them was a ban on alcohol sales for on-site consumption.
“As Pennsylvania sees an increase in cases, the commonwealth is strengthening restrictions. All large events and gatherings are now reduced until further notice,” reads a statement from the governor’s office.
“In addition, the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants and private catered events, must end alcohol sales for on-site consumption at 5 p.m. on Nov. 25, only.”
The governor’s office said the new rules are intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, at a time when health models project “22,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in Pennsylvania in December.”
The governor said that orders in place, and those announced today, are “enforceable” and that “law enforcement and state agencies will be stepping up enforcement efforts, issuing citations and fines, and possibly regulatory actions for repeat offenders.”
Like Wolf, other city and state leaders have focused on the sale of alcohol ahead of the holidays. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday mandated that starting Wednesday, Nov. 25, restaurants can continue to stay open until midnight but must suspend alcohol sales at 10 p.m.
Fox News has reached out to the governor’s press office with a request for comment on the alcohol ban.
The ban on alcohol sales for on-site consumption is the latest effort from Wolf’s administration to step up restrictions in an effort to combat resurging cases.
Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that masks are now required outside where it isn’t possible to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others, and inside where people from multiple households are gathering – even if they can maintain a social distance.
Wolf tweeted on Monday that Pennsylvanians are in “a dangerous situation, and we need to work together to slow the spread of #COVID19 and save lives.”
“COVID is tough, but Pennsylvanians are tougher. Let’s get to work and flatten the curve,” he said.
The governor said tougher measures were necessary given the strains that the state’s hospitals and health care systems are facing.
“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 overworked 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,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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