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Cocktails-to-go legislation signed, 980 new cases in Pa.

Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 327, now Act 21 of 2020, on Friday allowing the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go from bars, restaurants or hotels with a liquor license. The law takes effect immediately.

“This new temporary rule creates more business for bars and restaurants when they need it, helps to meet customer demand and supports social distancing,” said Governor Wolf. “As we approach the holiday weekend, I encourage all Pennsylvanians to remember to drink responsibly.”

The law applies to bars, restaurants and hotels that have lost 25 percent of average monthly total sales during the COVID-19 emergency. The beverages must be sold in containers with a secure lid in quantities from 4 oz. to 64 oz. before 11 p.m. An additional seal is required on the straw opening of a lid. Within 60 days, bars and restaurants must use a transaction scan device to verify a consumer’s age if the person appears to be younger than 35 years of age.

“Our local restaurants are working hard to feed our communities during this difficult time,” said Rep. Perry Warren. “Act 21 both streamlines the process for residents to decide whether to permit alcohol sales in a ‘dry’ municipality and allows restaurants to add another product for their customers for curbside pickup and takeout during this crisis. I thank Governor Wolf and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill.”

The temporary rule expires after the COVID-19 disaster emergency ends and a business reaches 60 percent capacity.

Pennsylvania’s open container law applies.

Pennsylvania added 866 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, keeping the streak going of less than 1,000 cases per day going.

According to information released on Pa. Department of Health’s website, the state has 66,258 cases of the virus since the first case was discovered in March.

The death toll was increased by 115 souls on Tuesday, putting the count at 4,984.

Dauphin County added 15 cases and five deaths to its total on Friday, while Schuylkill County added 12 cases and one death, while Northumberland County added five cases. Dauphin County currently stands at a total to 1,049 cases with 57 deaths, Schuylkill stands at 560 cases with 26 deaths, and Northumberland County, in the yellow phase of reopening, is at 155 cases and two deaths.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 217 cases and 18 deaths, putting their totals at 17,057 positive cases and 1,196 deaths since the coronavirus first hit in March..

Officials say that the public’s effort on social distancing and wearing masks must continue to get things back to normal.

“As counties move from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, which includes our seniors, those with underlying health issues, our healthcare workers and our first responders. I am proud of the work that Pennsylvanians have done so far, but we cannot stop now, we must continue to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19.”

As far as negative tests for each county, Dauphin is listed as having 8.426 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 3,881 negative tests and 1,205 in Northumberland County.

The state also updated numbers of age ranges of the positive cases and hospitalizations to date. Currently 1,619 Pennsylvania residents are hospitalized with the virus and its complications, down 158 from Thursday.

The breakdown is as follows:

Positive cases

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12, <1%; 13-18, 2%; 19-24, 6%; 25-49, 37%; 50-64, 26%, 65+, 29%

Hospitalizations

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12 <1%; 13-18, <1%; 19-24, 1%;  25-49, 16%; 50-64, 26%; 65+, 57%

The counties affected and the number of confirmed cases, with the number of deaths in parentheses, are:

Adams-214 (5), Allegheny-1,739 (154), Armstrong-58 (2), Beaver-550 (71), Bedford-36 (2),  Berks-3,838 (283), Blair-46 (1), Bradford-43 (3), Bucks-4,764 (454), Butler-209 (12), Cambria-55 (2), Cameron-2 Carbon-224 (22), Centre-138 (5), Chester-2,320 (242), Clarion-25 (2), Clearfield-33, Clinton-48, Columbia-342 (29), Crawford-21, Cumberland-572 (43), Dauphin-1,049 (57), Delaware-6,060 (501), Elk-6, Erie-190 (4), Fayette-93 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-697 (28), Fulton-14 (1), Greene-27, Huntingdon-223 (1), Indiana-89 (4), Jefferson-7, Juniata-94 (4), Lackawanna-1,451 (148), Lancaster-2,736 (272), Lawrence-73 (8), Lebanon-892 (24), Lehigh-3,613 (197), Luzerne-2,620 (133), Lycoming-155 (12), McKean-11 (1), Mercer-102 (4), Mifflin-57 (1), Monroe-1,295 (97), Montgomery-6,366 (619), Montour-50, Northampton-2,842 (192), Northumberland-155 (2), Perry-43 (1), Philadelphia-17,057 (1,196), Pike-475 (18), Potter-4, Schuylkill-560 (26), Snyder-35 (1), Somerset-37, Sullivan-2, Susquehanna-93 (15), Tioga-16 (2), Union-61 (1), Venango-8, Warren-3, Washington-134 (5), Wayne-115 (6), Westmoreland-436 (38), Wyoming-33 (7), York-895 (22).

As of midnight May 22, there have been 312,743 negative tests for the coronavirus, 9,229 more than the day before.

What is coronavirus?

According to the Pa. Department of Health, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses can live in animals and at times, evolve and infect people before spreading through human to human contact.

Human coronaviruses are spread just like the common cold or the flu — either through the air through coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact like touching or shaking hands, or by touching an object or surface with the virus on it.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after a person is exposed to the illness. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to severe illness and death. As of May 21, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 1,571,617 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 94,150 deaths.

What can you do?

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
Clean surfaces frequently.
Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.
The Pa. Department of Health offers these guidelines as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.