PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA) — In the face of alarming numbers, Governor Tom Wolf is expected to announce a new round of restrictions and limits to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the announcement from Governor Wolf would dovetail with local measures. While nothing is set in stone, Fitzgerald says decisive action is needed to stop the spread.
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And once again, local businesses are preparing to limit their operations.
For Casbah and the 18 other restaurants in the Big Burrito Group, coronavirus has already been a rocky road. Half of the group’s 1,200 employees have been laid off, and company President Bill Fuller is rolling with the punches.
“We’ve been through takeout only, 25 percent, 50 percent, no liquor license,” said Fuller.
And now, the restaurants across Allegheny County and Pennsylvania face another shutdown with state and county health departments set to announce new restrictions, including once again banning indoor dining and permitting takeout only.
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“I think the governor will be looking today and announcing tomorrow to see what kind of limitations there would be,” said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald won’t confirm but sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan that restaurants are by no means alone. Also under consideration is the full closure of businesses like casinos, theaters and gyms, and institutions such as museums and libraries.
The state and county are attempting to coordinate separate announcements either Wednesday or Thursday, with restrictions going into effect this weekend and extending through New Year’s with the aim of avoiding another holiday spike.
“The message is clear,” Fitzgerald said. “We want to keep people from gathering with people who aren’t from their household. Unfortunately, those recommendations that have been very strong recommendations have not allowed us to see improvements on the numbers we’ve had over the last couple of weeks.”
As of late Tuesday afternoon, nothing was cut in stone, but drastic measures are on the table to stop community spread and save our health systems from being overwhelmed. According to an internal Allegheny County Health Department draft obtained by KDKA, all get-togethers should be restricted to family-only.
All indoor gatherings and events involving people from more than one household are prohibited, in public or private spaces. This includes private events such as weddings and showers, listed as “celebrations” in previous guidance.
Fuller doesn’t believe restaurants are to blame but has found a sense of acceptance in this time of coronavirus.
“I don’t know how much it will solve the problem, but I know the state and or the county has to do something. There’s a lot of public pressure right now,” Fuller said.
As of late Tuesday, businesses like Rivers Casino say they have not been notified by the state or county of any restrictions, whether that be limits on capacity or a total shutdown.