On March 9, 4 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 10.
On March 10, 2 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 12.
On March 12, Governor Wolf implemented social distancing measures in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, which urged nonessential businesses to close.
On March 13, Governor Wolf announced that all Pennsylvania schools will be closed for at least two weeks. Additionally, park programs were cancelled.
On March 16, Governor Wolf extended the social distancing measures across the entire state. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered nonessential businesses and city government to close for two weeks. Governor Wolf ordered bars and restaurants to close to dine-in customers in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. The Pennsylvania Turnpike stopped accepting cash or credit cards and implemented all-electronic tolling starting at 8 p.m.
On March 19, Governor Wolf ordered a statewide closure of all "non-life sustaining businesses operations and services," with enforcement of this order going into effect at 12:01am on Saturday, March 21. The PA Department of Education canceled all statewide assessments including the PSSA testing, Keystone exams, and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year.
On March 21, the department of health announced the state's second death as well as 103 new cases. The second death was in Allegheny County.Rachel Levine, the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said during a press conference "A state-wide shelter in place was not out of the question."
On March 22, 273 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 644. The sixth death occurred in Montgomery County. Mayor Kenney issued a stay-at-home order for the city of Philadelphia, set to take effect March 23 at 8:00 am.
On March 23, Governor Wolf issued additional stay-at-home orders for Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Monroe, and a redundant order for Philadelphia County, to go into effect at 8:00 pm the same day.
On March 24, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for Erie County starting at 8:00 pm the same day.
On March 25, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for Lehigh and Northampton counties. A 35-year-old woman in Hanover Township, Luzerne County was arrested for deliberately coughing and spitting on food at a Gerrity's Supermarket. She made verbal threats about being infected with COVID-19 and has been charged with two counts of terrorism and two other felonies plus a misdemeanor for attempting to steal a pack of beer. The supermarket had to throw out $35,000 worth of merchandise and has since raised employee pay $1 per hour. The woman is being tested for coronavirus.
On March 27, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York counties.
On March 28, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for Beaver, Centre, and Washington counties. Governor Wolf announced 533 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 2,751. The highest rise in cases was in Philadelphia County.
On April 1, Governor Wolf extended the stay-at-home order across the entire state effective that evening at 8:00 pm.
On April 3, Governor Wolf asked Pennsylvanians to wear cloth face coverings in public. Philadelphia reduced recycling pickup to every two weeks due to staff shortages.
On April 9, Governor Wolf officially ordered the closing of all Pennsylvania schools through the end of the academic school year. He stated that they will resume all classes through means of Google Classroom and other online classroom tools. He had not yet stated if the Class of 2020 graduations will be postponed or cancelled.
On April 15, Health Secretary Levine issued an order requiring safety precautions for essential businesses (except for Hospitals).
On April 17, Governor Wolf laid out a plan to provide relief for Pennsylvanians (Phase 1), gradually reopen the state (Phase 2), and recover from this situation (Phase 3). The state government used a three-phase color-coded plan to reopen the state. The first and most restrictive phase is the red phase, which includes a stay-at-home order and only allows essential businesses to be open. The second phase of the reopening process is the yellow phase, which calls for aggressive mitigation and allows some businesses to reopen while others must remain closed. The third and least restrictive phase is the green phase, which allows most businesses to be open while following health guidelines.
On April 19, Governor Wolf ordered employees and customers at essential businesses to wear face masks effective at 8 p.m.
On April 20, hundreds of protesters marched on the Pennsylvania State Capitol building during a "Operation Gridlock Pennsylvania" event in Harrisburg in order to protest the stay-at-home order. The protest was organized by three groups, "Re-open Pennsylvania", "End the Lockdown Pennsylvania" and "Pennsylvania Against Excessive Quarantine" led in part by an Ohio-based Second Amendment rights activist named Chris Dorr.
On May 1, public and private construction projects were allowed to resume. In addition, golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips, and private campgrounds were allowed to reopen.
On May 8, 24 counties entered the yellow phase, allowing some businesses to reopen. They are Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.
On May 15, 13 more counties entered the yellow phase: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.
On May 22, 12 more counties entered the yellow phase: Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming, and York.
On May 29, eight more counties entered the yellow phase: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill. The first 18 counties to enter the green phase were Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango, and Warren.
On June 5, 16 more counties entered the green phase: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland. The last ten counties to enter the yellow phase were Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia. There are no remaining counties in the red phase.
On June 12, 12 more counties entered the green phase: Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne, Wyoming, and York.
On June 16, there had been 48 cases and 4 deaths at a York County nursing home.
On June 19, eight more counties entered the green phase: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike, and Schuylkill.
On June 24, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, announced that the state would partner with CVS Health to provide free COVID-19 tests to skilled nursing facilities across the state, to commence June 29.
On July 2, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that people who have traveled, or plan to travel, to a state with a high number of COVID-19 cases should quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
On July 3, Lebanon County became the final county to enter the green phase. There are no remaining counties in the yellow phase. Allegheny County, which is home to Pittsburgh, closed bars, restaurants, and casinos for a week, and cancelled gatherings of 25 people or more due to a rise in cases.
On July 15, Governor Wolf partially rolled back some of the lifted restrictions by imposing new restrictions due to a rise in cases. Restaurants were limited to 25 percent capacity for indoor dining, alcohol can only be served for on-premises consumption when purchased with a meal, telework must be implemented when possible, and indoor gatherings were limited to 25 people.
On July 24, the Berks County Coroner office in Reading announced an autopsy revealed a local 26-day-old female baby that recently died tested positive for the virus and would investigate the death as a co-sleeping accident. The baby may be the state's youngest death from the virus.
On August 19, a large crowd of freshmen students at the University Park campus of Pennsylvania State University gathered; many of them did not practice social distancing or wearing masks. A petition calling for the freshmen who gathered in the crowd to be sent home gained close to 3,500 signatures.
On August 30, Temple University reverted to online instruction after 103 people tested positive. Contact tracing linked the outbreak to off-campus apartments and small social gatherings.
On August 31, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania moved classes online for the remainder of the fall semester following a rise in COVID-19 cases during the first two weeks of students being on campus for classes.
On September 1, Philadelphia's health commissioner told Temple University students, "You should assume that everyone around you is infected." Guidance for colleges in Philadelphia was revised "to recommend against gatherings of any size."Gettysburg College announced an all-student quarantine through at least the end of the week, after 25 of 348 students tested positive. Students may "leave their rooms only to pick up food, use the bathroom or get their COVID-19 test."
On September 3, Temple University announced classes would be held online for the remainder of the fall semester following the COVID-19 outbreak at the campus.
On September 11, the borough of Kutztown, which is home to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, enacted an emergency ordinance that limits residential gatherings of unrelated people to 10 people or less and also mandates masks in public spaces when people are within 6 feet of others outside their household. Violators of the ordinance can be fined between $100 and $600.
On September 13, the Pennsylvania Department of Health no longer reports COVID-19 statistics on Sundays.
On September 14, U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV ruled that Governor Wolf's pandemic restrictions - including the stay-at-home order, size limits on gatherings, and the order for non-essential businesses to close - were unconstitutional.
On September 17, Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Levine signed orders that effective September 21, restaurants must stop alcohol sales for on-premises consumption at 11:00 pm and must remove alcohol from tables at midnight. The order was intended to discourage congregating in restaurants and reduce increases in COVID-19 cases among adults age 19–24.
On September 21, restaurants were allowed to increase to 50 percent capacity for indoor dining after completing self-certification documents.
On September 22, the COVID Alert PA smartphone app was launched to notify people if they were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
On October 6, Governor Wolf increased crowd capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events including sporting events effective October 9. The limits are based on venue size and whether the venue is indoors or outdoors.
On November 13, health officials in Montgomery County ordered schools to go all-virtual for two weeks starting November 23 due to a rise in cases and hospitalizations.
On November 16, the city of Philadelphia announced new restrictions due to a surge in cases, which are in place from November 20 until January 1, 2021. The restrictions include no indoor dining at restaurants, capacity limits at retail stores and religious institutions, the closure of gyms, libraries, and certain entertainment businesses, telework for office workers required unless it is not possible, no indoor gatherings, reduced size limits on outdoor gatherings, and no youth or school sports. Colleges, universities, and high schools are only allowed to offer online classes while elementary and middle schools are allowed in-person instruction following health guidelines.
On November 17, Health Secretary Levine announced that anyone traveling to Pennsylvania must get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival or quarantine for 14 days, effective November 20. In addition, masks must be worn in every indoor facility and any time people are indoors with other people from outside their household, even if they can remain socially distant.
On November 19, Health Secretary Levine announced a three-phase plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available. The first phase will provide the vaccine to critical populations, including healthcare workers, first responders, critical workers, essential workers, people over the age of 65, and people living in congregate settings. The second phase will expand the vaccine to vulnerable populations and people with health conditions who may be a high risk of developing complications from the virus. The third phase will allow the remainder of the population to be vaccinated.
On November 23, Health Secretary Levine announced a stay-at-home advisory as cases deaths and hospitalizations continued to increase. In addition, it was announced that alcohol sales at bars and restaurants would be suspended on Thanksgiving Eve, traditionally a big drinking holiday, with the suspension running from 5 p.m. November 25 to 8 a.m. November 26.
On December 8 (announced December 9), Governor Wolf tested positive for COVID-19.
On December 10, Governor Wolf announced several restrictions to slow the spread of the virus; these restrictions are in place from December 12 until January 4, 2021. During this time, indoor dining is prohibited at restaurants except for outdoor dining at 50% capacity, indoor operations at gyms are prohibited, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, youth sports and in-person extracurricular activities are prohibited, businesses are limited to 50 percent capacity, and in-person entertainment including theaters, concert venues, museums, arcades, casinos, and bowling alleys are ordered to be closed. The order is to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed from a surge from Christmas and New Year's gatherings.
On December 14, the first doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania were issued to healthcare workers. Charmaine Pykosh, an acute care nurse in the surgical/intensive care unit at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, received the first dose of the vaccine.
On January 8, the state announced updates to the phases in which the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered. In Phase 1A, the vaccine will be available to healthcare workers and nursing homes. In Phase 1B, the vaccine will be available to people over age 75 and essential workers including first responders, correction officers, postal workers, grocery store workers, teachers, school support staff, clergy, public transit workers, daycare workers, and manufacturing workers. In Phase 1C, the vaccine will be available to people age 65–74, pregnant women, people with existing health issues, and other essential workers including public safety workers, wastewater plant workers, elected government officials, the judiciary, legal service workers, media workers, and communications workers. In Phase 2, the vaccine will be available to the general population over age 16.
On January 19, the state expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people over age 65 and people age 16–64 with health conditions that put them at higher risk.
On February 12, Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam issued a new COVID-19 vaccine order intended to speed up the administration of the vaccine. Under this order, vaccine providers must administer 80 percent of their first doses of the vaccine within seven days of receiving them and must also provide an appointment card and schedule an appointment for the second dose of two-dose vaccines. In addition, vaccine providers must have both an online and phone-based registration system. Vaccine providers must also record information on each vaccine administered and keep track of inventory levels.
On February 17, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that several vaccine providers accidentally gave second doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as first doses, leading to a shortage of available vaccine doses and forcing upcoming vaccination appointments to be rescheduled or canceled.
On February 19, Governor Wolf effectively extended the state's disaster declaration by signing a 90-day extension bill. The renewal, the fourth since the original declaration on March 6, 2020, "will allow the commonwealth to maintain its response and support efforts as we continue testing, contact tracing and vaccination efforts to keep Pennsylvanians safe,” Wolf stated.
On March 1, Governor Wolf increased capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events, with indoor events limited to 15 percent maximum occupancy and outdoor events limited to 20 percent maximum occupancy. The state also eliminated the requirement that people traveling to Pennsylvania must get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival or quarantine for 14 days.
On March 3, Governor Wolf announced plans to make the one-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine available to teachers and school staff in order to get students back into the classroom for in-person instruction.
On March 6 marks 1 year since PA reported its first 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19
On March 15, Governor Wolf announced the lifting of more restrictions effective April 4. Restaurants are allowed to increase indoor dining to 75 percent capacity with self-certification or 50 percent capacity without self-certification. In addition, restaurants are allowed to resume bar service, alcohol will allowed to be served without the purchase of food, and the curfew for removing alcohol from tables will be eliminated. Also effective April 4, personal services, gyms, and entertainment will be allowed to increase to 75 percent capacity, indoor events will be allowed to increase to 25 percent maximum occupancy, and outdoor events will be allowed to increase to 50 percent maximum occupancy.
On March 22, the state revised the mask mandate to allow fully vaccinated people to gather without masks or social distancing and to allow fully vaccinated people to gather without masks or social distancing with a single household that is not vaccinated but is considered low risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
On March 31, the state announced expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. Effective March 31, law enforcement officials, probation and parole staff, firefighters, and grocery store workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine. The remainder of Phase 1B will be eligible on April 5, Phase 1C will be eligible on April 12, and all Pennsylvanians will be eligible on April 19. The expansion in vaccine eligibility was made possible as the pace of vaccinations has picked up.
On April 12, the state announced all Pennsylvania residents age 16 and older outside Philadelphia would be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine effective April 13, six days earlier than originally planned.
On April 27, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that it updated mask guidance for fully vaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear a mask outdoors unless they are in crowded spaces; unvaccinated people are still required to wear a mask in most situations.
On May 4, the state announced that all COVID-19 mitigation orders will be lifted on May 31, with the exception of the mask mandate. The mask mandate will be lifted when 70% of residents age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.
On May 11, Governor Wolf announced that gathering limits will increase to 50 percent capacity for indoor gatherings and to 75 percent capacity for outdoor gatherings effective May 17.
On May 13, the state announced that fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors in crowds or in most indoor settings. Masks will still be required for fully vaccinated people in crowded indoor settings including buses, airplanes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.
On May 27, Acting Health Secretary Beam announced that the state mask mandate will be fully lifted on June 28 or when 70% of residents age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, whichever comes first.
On June 10, the Pennsylvania State Senate voted in favor of a resolution terminating the disaster emergency declaration issued by Governor Wolf; the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted in favor of it on June 8. The Pennsylvania State Senate also voted in favor of a bill to keep waivers of state regulations in place through September 30, 2021.
On June 28, the mask mandate in Pennsylvania was lifted. Masks are still required on planes, trains, buses, and public transportation. In addition, organizations, businesses, and healthcare providers can still require masks at their discretion.
On July 22, the city of Philadelphia recommended people wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, due to a rise in cases among unvaccinated people including children.
On July 29, health officials in Montgomery County recommended all teachers, students, staff, and visitors wear masks in school buildings when the new school year begins, regardless of vaccination status, in accordance with updated CDC guidance.
On August 4, Pennsylvania State University announced that students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear masks in indoor spaces on all of its campuses.
On August 6, the University of Pennsylvania announced students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors with some exceptions.
On August 10, Governor Wolf announced that about 25,000 employees of state prisons and state healthcare and congregate care facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated by September 7 or take weekly COVID-19 tests.
On August 13, Montgomery County announced staff and visitors to county government buildings will be required to wear masks, while recommending all people regardless of vaccination status wear masks in indoor public places.
On August 31, Governor Wolf announced that students, teachers, and staff in all public and private K-12 schools and child care facilities will be required to wear masks effective September 7 amid a rise in cases caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant.
On September 3, officials in Montgomery County announced that effective September 6, people will be recommended to wear masks outdoors if they cannot practice social distancing regardless of vaccination status. This recommendation was made after Montgomery County was in the high level of community transmission of COVID-19 for two weeks.
On November 8, Governor Wolf announced that school districts will be allowed to modify or end the mask mandate for K-12 students effective January 17, 2022. The mask mandate will remain in place for early learning and childcare facilities.
On November 10, a state court threw out the mask mandate for K-12 schools issued by Acting Health Secretary Beam, stating she lacked authority to issue a mandate. The Wolf administration immediately filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
On November 16, Commonwealth Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon ruled that the statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools and childcare facilities must expire December 4.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Wolf has implemented social distancing measures in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties in the Philadelphia suburbs along with Allegheny County in the Pittsburgh area, which urges non-essential businesses operations and services to close, such as malls, movie theaters, and casinos. Essential businesses such as gas stations, grocery stores, and pharmacies will remain open. Essential services such as police, fire, and emergency medical services will be available. Starting March 16, 2020, bars and restaurants will be ordered to close to dine-in customers in those counties. In addition, non-essential travel is discouraged. A no visitor policy was implemented for correctional facilities and nursing homes statewide. On March 17, 2020, all Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores across the state closed at the end of the business day. On March 19, 2020, Governor Wolf ordered all non-life sustaining businesses to close.
On March 22, 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a stay-at-home order for the city, set to take effect the following day at 8:00 am. On March 23, 2020, Governor Wolf issued additional stay at home orders for seven counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Monroe, and a redundant order for Philadelphia County, to go into effect at 8:00 pm the same day. Stay-at-home orders were issued for Erie County on March 24, 2020; Lehigh and Northampton counties on March 25, 2020; Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York counties on March 27, 2020; Beaver, Centre, and Washington counties on March 28, 2020; and the entire state on April 1, 2020.
On March 16, 2020, the social distancing measures were extended to the entire state, while Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered nonessential businesses and city government to close for two weeks. Starting March 17, 2020, SEPTA Regional Rail trains in the Philadelphia area will operate on an enhanced Saturday schedule for two weeks due to reduced ridership and staffing. In addition, SEPTA will offer refunds for unused and partially used passes.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced that cash or credit cards would not be accepted at toll plazas along the Pennsylvania Turnpike system starting at 8 p.m. on March 16, 2020. All tolls were collected electronically by E-ZPass or toll-by-plate. The all-electronic tolling was intended to be temporary, but in June 2020 the move to all-electronic tolling became permanent, with toll collectors laid off.
On March 19, 2020, the state's department of education announced that all statewide assessments would be canceled for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year.
On March 22, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf announced the commonwealth would likely postpone its Democratic and Republican primary elections from April 28, 2020 to June 2, 2020.
On March 27, 2020, Wolf signed a bill moving the primary elections to June 2, 2020.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation extended expiration dates as a result of the pandemic. The expiration dates of driver licenses, identification cards, and learner's permits that were scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 to August 31, 2020 were extended to August 31, 2020. The expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner's permits that were scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 to March 31, 2021 were extended to March 31, 2021.
Impact on economy
On March 19, 2020, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf ordered a closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses in the state to close physical locations in order to slow the spread of the virus. Following the closure and into the second week of April 2020, 1.7 million residents had filed unemployment claims. The most affected sectors included the construction sector and the accommodation and food services sector.
As of February 2021, over 2 million unemployment claims have been filed in the state. 1.1 million of those have been approved and paid.
Impact on communities
Pennsylvania businesses were impacted by COVID-19 beginning early in the pandemic. All non-life-sustaining businesses were ordered to close by 8 pm March 19, 2020 by Gov. Tom Wolf. As a result, restaurants, small businesses, theaters, galleries, and performance spaces were temporarily shuttered to stem the spread of the virus. The economic impact of closures and related measures became apparent later in the year. GDP decreased by 34% statewide between Q1 and Q2 2020, and employment decreased by 503,600 (8.2%) jobs between February and December 2020. Workers able to telecommute were asked to do so, beginning in March 2020.
In an effort to aid small and locally owned businesses, Pennsylvania legislators created funds for proprietors. The Statewide Small Business Assistance program made $225 million available for small businesses as part of the $2.6 billion CARES Act. Businesses, which apply through Community Development Financial Institutions, were eligible for grants of $5,000 to $50,000. Wolf's office reported $192 million has been provided through grants to more than 10,000 businesses. In October 2020, another $96 million was allocated to more than $5,000 businesses. As of February 2021, businesses can operate at 75% capacity, casinos, malls, theaters, gyms, spas, and salons at 50%, and indoor dining in restaurants at 50% capacity.
Gatherings for parties, funerals, or weddings were limited in number. As of November 2020, maximum occupancy limits (including staff) were set for indoor and outdoor settings. These range from no more than 500 people in an indoor space with a maximum occupancy of more than 10,000, 10% of 2,000 maximum occupancy, 5% of 2,000-10,000 maximum occupancy. Outdoor events were limited to 5% or up to 2,500 with a maximum occupancy of more than 10,000, 15% of 2,000 maximum occupancy, and 10% of 2,000-10,000 maximum occupancy.
In October 2020, lawmakers introduced “Save the Stages” legislation (PA House Bill 2894) designed to provide $200 million of the CARES Act to performance venues or associated businesses impacted by COVID-19.
As gyms and recreational spaces were shuttered, Pennsylvanians took to outdoor trails. A survey of Pennsylvania Environmental Council's trails’ operators reported an increase of trail usage by 100% to 200% in spring 2020 as stay-at-home orders were implemented. Increased usage delayed planned projects and strained resources for management of the trail systems.
In November 2020, Gov, Wolf issued a travel order requiring those arriving in Pennsylvania from another state or country, or residents returning to the state, to test negative to a COVID-19 test or to quarantine for 10 days after arrival.
Impact on education
On March 13, 2020, Governor Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania schools to close for at least two weeks. The Pennsylvania Department of Education canceled all statewide school assessments including the PSSA testing, Keystone exams, and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year. On April 9, 2020, Governor Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania schools to remain closed through the end of the academic school year, with schools holding all classes through means of Google Classroom and other online classroom tools. In August 2020, Governor Wolf set forth criteria to reopen schools for the 2020–2021 school year based on community transmission of COVID-19. In counties with low transmission, schools are recommended to reopen with full in-person instruction or hybrid instruction using a mix of in-person and virtual learning. In counties with moderate transmission, schools are recommended to reopen with hybrid instruction or all-virtual learning. In counties with substantial transmission, schools are recommended to reopen with all-virtual learning. On November 13, 2020, Montgomery County health officials ordered schools to go all-virtual for two weeks starting November 23, 2020 due to a rise in cases and hospitalizations.
As elsewhere in the U.S., the pandemic has placed significant economic stress on public school districts across the state of Pennsylvania. Despite funding from the CARES ACT, many districts have had to increase taxes, make budgets, or draw from reserves, or some combination of the three strategies. Many of the districts facing the most difficult economic challenges are also those that serve low-income areas.
Impact on voting
in 2019, PA General Assembly's Act 77 amended voting laws in the state to allow for "no excuse" mail in ballots, making mail-in ballots accessible to a greater number of residents, and aligning with similar practices in 31 states. In March 2020 with the passage of 2020 Act 12, the primary election was postponed to June 2, 2020 to allow for mail in ballots and pre-canvassing.
Immediately before the November 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, 27% of likely voters identified the virus as "the most pressing issue for the state." COVID-19 led to a surge in registrations for mail-in voting for the general election. In response to the pandemic, certain modifications were made to mail-in voting. Prepaid return postage was provided for both mail-in and absentee ballots in the general election. Additionally, the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots was extended to November 6, 2020 if the ballot was postmarked by November 3, 2020.
The 3 day extension was petitioned in the state Supreme Court in September 2020, and stated to be based on the delay in US Postal Service deliveries due to the pandemic. Following legal challenge, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the extended period of receipt of mail in ballots. In late October 2020, Kathryn Boockvar, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ordered the mail in ballots received after November 3 to be kept separate from those received prior due to pending legislation in the US Supreme Court. Several appeals were made to the US Supreme Court regarding the recent legislative decisions. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the cases.
Most of the state's sports teams were affected. Several leagues began postponing or suspending their seasons starting March 12, 2020. Major League Baseball cancelled the remainder of spring training on that date, and on March 16, 2020, they announced that the season will be postponed indefinitely, after the recommendations from the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, affecting the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. Also on March 12, 2020, the National Basketball Association announced the season would be suspended for 30 days, affecting the Philadelphia 76ers. In the National Hockey League, the season was suspended for an indefinite amount of time, affecting the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. The NBA and NHL seasons have since resumed with a modified schedule. The Pittsburgh Penguins were unexpectedly eliminated in the qualifying round, while the Flyers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders. The 76ers completed the regular season after the restart and ended up as the 6 seed in the East; the 76ers were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. On June 24, 2020, it was announced that the 2020 MLB season of 60 games will begin July 23 and 24 with players returning to spring training on July 1.
On July 27, 2020, National Football League preseason games, which usually take place in August, were cancelled by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell due to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The regular season began as scheduled, although the Eagles and Steelers played behind closed doors for the first part of the season. The Steelers allowed a limited number of fans starting with their October 11, 2020 game against the Eagles while the Eagles allowed a limited number of fans starting with their October 18, 2020 game against the Baltimore Ravens. After the city of Philadelphia announced restrictions on November 16, 2020 due to a rise in cases, the Eagles were again not allowed to have any fans at games. After the state imposed restrictions on outdoor gatherings, the Steelers restricted attendance at games to family and friends of players and the organization starting with their December 2, 2020 game against the Ravens. The state originally planned to allow a limited number of spectators for the Steelers home playoff game(s). On January 7, 2021, the Steelers announced that attendance at home playoff game(s) would be limited to family and associates.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health organized the state vaccine rollout into four phases. As of February 1, one million residents had received the vaccine.
In the first phase, or Phase 1A, eligible persons included long-term care facility residents, health care personnel, persons exposed to infectious materials, persons aged 65 and older, and high-risk persons aged 16–64. Phase 1A began December 14, 2020, with the first vaccines being distributed to frontline healthcare workers in Pittsburgh.
In Phase 1B, the following groups are eligible for the vaccine: individuals in group settings beyond long-term care, first responders, correctional officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. postal workers, manufacturing workers, educators, clergy, public transit workers, and childcare professionals.
In the third phase, essential workers in a number of sectors not already mentioned, including sectors such as transportation, energy, media, and legal services became eligible.
In Phase 2, all (16 and older) persons not previously covered are eligible for the vaccine.
Challenges to rollout
As of January 2021, Pennsylvania ranks "second-to-last among the states in vaccine administration," a condition which has prompted state Republicans to criticize Democratic Governor Tom Wolf's management of the situation. Among other challenges, Wolf has cited a lack of supply from federal agencies in preventing quicker and more widespread inoculation. While older populations are targeted in Phase 1A, elderly residents of rural Pennsylvania in particular have had limited access to the vaccine, as limited supplies as inadequate facilities hinder the roll-out in these areas.
This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(December 2020)
Thomas Westerman Wolf is an American politician and businessman serving as the 47th and current Governor of Pennsylvania since 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he defeated Republican incumbent Tom Corbett in the 2014 gubernatorial election and was reelected in 2018 by a margin of 17.1%. Prior to his election to the governorship, Wolf was the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue from April 2007 to November 2008 and an executive in his family-owned business.
Ten of the first twenty confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States occurred in California, the first of which was confirmed on January 26, 2020. All of the early confirmed cases were persons who had recently travelled to China, as testing was restricted to this group. On January 29, 2020, as disease containment protocols were still being developed, the U.S. Department of State evacuated 195 persons from Wuhan, China aboard a chartered flight to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, and in the process may have contributed to spread within the state and the US at large. On February 5, 2020, the U.S. evacuated 345 more citizens from Hubei Province to two military bases in California, Travis Air Force Base in Solano County and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, where they were quarantined for 14 days. A state of emergency was declared in the state on March 4, 2020 and as of February 24, 2021 remains in effect. A mandatory statewide stay-at-home order was issued on March 19, 2020 that was ended on January 25, 2021. On April 6, 2021, the state announced plans to fully reopen the economy by June 15, 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts is part of an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The first confirmed case was reported on February 1, 2020, and the number of cases began increasing rapidly on March 5. Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10. By March 12, more than a hundred people had tested positive for the virus. Most early cases were traceable to a company meeting held in Boston in late February by the Cambridge-based biotechnology firm Biogen. In May 2020, Massachusetts was third in the U.S. for both overall number of cases and for cases per capita, behind New York and New Jersey.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Maryland in March 2020. The first three cases of the virus were reported in Montgomery County on March 5, 2020. As of November 2, 2021, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) reported 562,200 positive cases, 10,682 confirmed deaths, 11,459 patients released from isolation, 4,082,378 have been administered first COVID-19 vaccine doses, 3,726,563 have been administered second doses, and 313,029 have been administered a single dose vaccine.
On March 1, 2020, the U.S. state of Florida officially reported its first two COVID-19 cases, in Manatee and Hillsborough counties. In response, Governor Ron DeSantis then declared a public health emergency. There is evidence, however, that community spread of COVID-19 began in Florida much earlier, perhaps as early as the first week of January, with as many as 171 people in Florida who had shown symptoms now identified with COVID-19, prior to receiving confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By March 11, the CDC saw evidence to conclude that community spread of the virus had occurred within the state. On April 1, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order to restrict activities within the state to those deemed as essential services.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Texas is an ongoing viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The state of Texas confirmed its first case on February 13, 2020, among U.S. nationals evacuated from China to Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland beginning in early February; however, retrospective analyses have suggested a much earlier origin than previously thought. The first documented case of COVID-19 in Texas outside of evacuees at Lackland was confirmed on March 4 in Fort Bend County, and many of the state's largest cities recorded their first cases throughout March. The state recorded its first death associated with the disease on March 17 in Matagorda County.
The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. state of Connecticut was confirmed on March 8, although there had previously been multiple people suspected of having COVID-19, all of which eventually tested negative. As of October 5, 2021, there were 356,598 confirmed cases, 36,901 suspected cases, and 8,667 COVID-associated deaths in the state.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Montana on March 14, 2020. As of June 4, 2021, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MDPHHS) has reported 112,260 positive cases and 1,632 deaths in the state.
The COVID-19 pandemic in New Hampshire is part of an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. The first confirmed case was reported on March 2, 2020. A state of emergency was declared March 13, which included a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people. A small group filed a lawsuit claiming the order infringed on their right to assemble and worship; a judge dismissed the suit. On March 26, all nonessential businesses were closed and Governor Chris Sununu advised people to only leave home for essential necessities. That stay-at-home order was extended several times before being allowed to expire on June 15. Through November 22, a total of 74 emergency orders had been issued by Sununu. Sununu lifted the mask mandate as of April 16, 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. state of New Jersey with the first confirmed case occurring in Bergen County on March 2, 2020, and testing positive on March 4. As of January 14, 2021, 576,720 cases were confirmed in the state, incurring 18,543 deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of North Carolina on March 3, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Tennessee on March 5, 2020. As of March 1, 2021, there are 775,693 confirmed cases, 11,421 deaths, 750,755 recoveries, and 6,789,970 reported tests.
The COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S. state of Utah in early March 2020 with travel-related cases. Residents stockpiled goods, large conferences were made remote-only, postponed, or cancelled; a state of emergency was declared, and some public universities and other colleges switched to online-only classes. After the first case of community spread was found on March 14, Utah faced a shortage of testing kits, and public schools were ordered to be closed. Community spread was confirmed in more counties, and the state issued a public health order prohibiting dine-in service in restaurants and gatherings of more than 10 people except in grocery stores. A 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the Wasatch Front on March 18, hampering the pandemic response.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia is part of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case was reported on March 7, 2020 in Fort Belvoir, and the first suspected case arrived in Virginia on February 23, 2020, which was a man who had recently traveled to Egypt. In response to the spread of COVID-19, the state mandated a stay at home order from March 18, 2020 until May 12, 2020, when the state began a four-phased reopening plan that lasted through July 1, 2020. From May 31, 2020 until May 28, 2021, the state enforced a mask mandate, being one of the first states in the nation to enforce a statewide mask mandate. The state remained relatively stagnant in COVID-19 cases through November 2020, until there was a large surge in COVID-19 cases during the winter of 2020–21, as part of a nationwide surge in cases. Cases gradually subsided to summer and fall 2020 numbers by March 2021, with numbers falling to early pandemic numbers by June 2021.
The first case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Idaho was confirmed on March 13, 2020, when a Boise woman tested positive. As of November 12, 2021, there have been 299,576 confirmed cases and 3,735 deaths within Idaho, while 843,741 people have been fully vaccinated.
The COVID-19 pandemic in North Dakota is an ongoing viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The state reported its first case on March 11, 2020.
The U.S. state of West Virginia reported its first confirmed case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 17, 2020, becoming the last state to do so. However, the particular patient had been showing symptoms for several days prior. On March 29, 2020, the state reported its first COVID-19 death.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 10, 2020. According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, there have been 155,158 confirmed infections and 3,763 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the city.
The government of Texas's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state consisted of a decentralized system that was mostly reliant on local policies. As the pandemic progressed in Texas and throughout the rest of the country, the Texas government closed down several businesses and parks, and it eventually imposed a statewide stay-at-home order in late May. Then, between May and June 2020, the state government initiated a phased reopening, which was viewed as controversial. The reopening was phased back in June and July 2020 following a new surge of COVID-19 cases in the state. In March 2021, as COVID-19 vaccines began to be administered throughout the U.S., the Texas government reopened the state again.