BEHTLEHEM, Pa (WLVT) - Gov. Tom Wolf announced new prohibitions on indoor dinning, high school sports, entertainment venues and more in an attempt to slow surging cases of the coronavirus.
The new, limited-time mitigation orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, and remain in effect until 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4.
They include halting all indoor dining and alcohol sales, indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 people, and outdoor events with more than 50 people, Churches and other places of worship are excluded from the restrictions.
Wolf, who tested positive for the virus this week, laid out the measures Thursday afternoon in a virtual news conference from his home, where he is quarantining.
Businesses ordered to shut down include indoor gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, casinos, bowling alleys and private clubs.
Youth and high school sports are also being suspended, but college and professional athletics can continue.
PBS39 spoke with several Bethlehem restaurant owners who say the restrictions will be devastating to an industry already reeling from restrictions and business shutdowns from earlier in the pandemic.
Rachel Griffin, owner of Apollo Grill, said she's invested in outdoor seating but had been counting on the little indoor revenue left to be had.
"We have invested in renting a tent," she said. "We went out and bought pretty much every single table and chair in the Lehigh Valley,. She said she purchased umbrellas, heaters, generators and a massive propane tank for the outdoor operation .
Not everyone is planning on abiding by the new mandates.
Jared Serulneck, owner of Seven Sirens Brewing Co. in Bethlehem, says he plans to buck Wolf's orders just like he did on Thanksgiving Eve. Without the revenue from his business, he said, he will be ruined financially.
Those restaurants that are in operation have been doing so at 25 percent capacity or 50 percent capacity with certain certifications.
"We're still waiting for some sort of help," Serulneck said. "You know our bills aren't 25 percent. Our payroll isn't 25 percent. Our loans are due. Our bank really couldn't care less. So I don't know what they expect from us."