New COVID Shutdowns in PA- By Lily Rabbitt

As of today, Thursday, December 10th, new restrictions have been placed upon the state of Pennsylvania due to drastic increases in the number of COVID- 19 cases and deaths. These restrictions include limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 and 50 people, respectively, mandating that all restaurants, gyms, and businesses in the entertainment industry (theaters, casinos, etc.) close, limiting all in-person business to 50% capacity, and the suspension of all school sports and extracurricular activities. 

Almost 1,100 people have died of the virus in the state this week. Says governor Tom Wolf, who tested positive for COVID himself earlier this week, “We all hoped it wouldn’t come to this, and that’s the point. The current state of the surge in Pennsylvania though will not allow us to wait. We need to slow the spread right now in order to save lives. If we don’t, we’re going to be in big trouble.”

According to the governor, these efforts are meant to serve three purposes, to stop the spread of the virus, to help keep hospitals and healthcare workers from being overwhelmed by patients, and to get us through the holidays and closer to a vaccine. 

Says Ringgold athlete Zoey Mundorff about the cancellation of sports, “Personally, I don’t think it’s that much of a change since things were already delayed, and we all had some time off for the holidays. It was a good measure to take to ensure that we can still have somewhat of a season. For the people that play club/travel sports, it’s more detrimental because more money goes into that and there’s a lot more planning and travel. All and all, I’m just happy we’ve been able to do what we can in such a time of uncertainty.”

These measures will be put in effect starting Saturday night at 8:00 and last until at least January 4th, extending through the rest of the holiday season. The shutdowns notably do not extend to churches and other places of worship, although it is highly suggested that they do not convene. Additionally, while kindergarten through 12th grade sports are suspended, college and professional leagues are permitted to continue practice and games for the time being, albeit with no fans. 

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