calendar July 16, 2020 in Public Health

Update: New Order Limits Size of Gatherings

In an executive order that went into effect at 12:01 am today (July 16), Gov. Wolf announced new restrictions limiting gatherings to 25 persons indoors and 250 persons outdoors. Organizations are also required to conduct operations by telework unless the work must be done on premises.

Update: According to, both the governor and Health Secretary Levine answered “no” when asked if the restrictions apply to churches. This likely means that no enforcement actions will be taken against churches at this time. Churches are urged to maintain social distancing, wearing of masks, and other preventative measures. Bishop Davenport has encouraged congregations to make the safety of worshippers, church staff and clergy, and the community a priority in making decisions to return to in-person worship.

The important takeaway is that Pennsylvania health officials are concerned about increasing community transmission of coronavirus. Congregations are advised to take community case trends into account when planning for indoor or outdoor activities.

“During the past week, we have seen an unsettling climb in new COVID-19 cases,” the governor said in a press release announcing the new order. “Medical experts looking at the trajectory we are on now are projecting that this new surge could soon eclipse the April peak. With our rapid case increases we need to act again now.”

The order prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 25 persons, and outdoor gatherings of more than 250 persons. Wearing of masks and keeping social distancing is required in all contexts.



Updated: July 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm to add information about the governor’s press conference and Bishop Davenport’s encouragement for churches.