Pennsylvania has announced increased capacity for indoor and outdoor events, as well as the elimination of out-of-state travel restrictions. Per the Governor’s announcement earlier this week:
- Revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 15% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 15% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
- Revised maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 20% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 20% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
- Eliminate out-of-state travel restrictions. In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania. Today, this order was rescinded. The current downward trend of cases nationwide and implementation of testing requirements and universal face covering on public transportation and transportation hubs are reducing the risk that interstate travel is a vector of disease transmission.
These changes are effective immediately. The changes do not impact the current guidelines within the city of Philadelphia, where more restrictive limits remain in place.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health provided some additional guidance on capacity limits, saying “venues hosting events or gatherings, regardless of venue size, must determine their established occupancy limit as defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code and then apply these gathering limitations...” Specifically for outdoor events/venues that do not have an established NFPA code capacity, the maximum occupancy can be calculated at 67 people per 1,000 square feet. As an example, the maximum capacity for a 30,000 square foot outdoor area is calculated to be 2,010 people and, under the new guidelines, the attendance would be limited to 402 people (20% of the maximum capacity of 2,010).
In all cases, event and venue staff are to be counted in the total occupancy limit.
We clearly have a long way to go before venues can be at 100% of allowed occupancy, but any increase in capacity is a step in the right direction.