The reigns are easing in Pennsylvania and normal life is creeping back into style. After a year of face masks and isolation, there is some hope on the horizon. Despite a slower than national average vaccine rollout in the Commonwealth, beginning on April 4, PA Gov. Tom Wolf will ease restrictions on bars, restaurants, outdoor gatherings and, most importantly to hockey fans, increase capacity at indoor events.
Regardless of venue size, the Governor’s new rules will increase maximum occupancy for indoor events to 25%. Currently, only 2800 fans are allowed into PPG Paints Arena for hockey games. Based on Penguins sellout totals of just over 18,600, the new rules could allow the Penguins to host about 4600 fans in the arena.
However, as of Monday afternoon, neither the arena and Pittsburgh Penguins organization have released an official statement. As part of the expansion, the indoor venues will need to meet safety guidelines and the Penguins have a couple weeks to get their ducks in a row.
The additional Penguins ticket sales should be brisk if or when they go on sale. Here is the link to Penguins tickets at Ticketmaster.com.
And regardless of your vaccination status, social distancing is still in effect, especially near me…forever.
Also effective on April 4, bars and restaurants can resume alcohol service without the required food service. The curfew for removing drinks from tables will be lifted and those establishments can return to 75% capacity.
Distribution statistics have fluctuated in recent days as states receive new shipments of vaccines. As of Sunday, Becker’s Hospital Review reports that Pennsylvania distributed 4.1 million vaccines out of 5.4 million received. The percentage ranked PA 38th in the country but is an improvement from the dubious 46th ranking last week.
For restaurants and indoor establishments to increase their occupancy, they must be certified. Restaurants and bars which do not get certified or “self certify” may only increase occupancy to 50%.
Gyms, casinos and movie theaters are also able to increase their capacity to 75%.
In case you’re wondering, outdoor venues can increase occupancy to 50% so the Pittsburgh Pirates may also get an economic jolt.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will report as the Penguins release more tickets or confirm more fans will be allowed into PPG Paints Arena.
Also, several of our readers had good success getting into the UPMC vaccine clincs at PPG Paints Arena. Here is the story with appropriate links. Get those vaccines!