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Pennsylvania restaurant official predicts Gov. Wolf’s coronavirus mitigation order could lead to closure of 7,500 PA restaurants

Allentown Morning Call logo Allentown Morning Call 7/28/2020 By Ford Turner, The Morning Call
a person talking on a cell phone: Artist Barbara Greco paints her landscape during the annual Blueberry Festival at the Burnside Plantation Sunday, in Bethlehem. The celebration allows visitors to indulge in everything blueberry on the weekends July 18-19, 25-26 10 am-6 pm with Drive-Thru pickups only on weekdays July 20-24 with Senior Hours 9:00-10:00 am. © Rick Kintzel/The Morning Call/The Morning Call/TNS Artist Barbara Greco paints her landscape during the annual Blueberry Festival at the Burnside Plantation Sunday, in Bethlehem. The celebration allows visitors to indulge in everything blueberry on the weekends July 18-19, 25-26 10 am-6 pm with Drive-Thru pickups only on weekdays July 20-24 with Senior Hours 9:00-10:00 am.

A Pennsylvania restaurant industry leader told state lawmakers Tuesday that Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent virus mitigation order limiting public dining rooms to 25% capacity could cause 7,500 restaurants in the state to close.

Grace Daja a freshman at Liberty High School and member of the girls’ tennis team waits for instruction before practice Wednesday, at the high school in Bethlehem. With COVID-19 not showing signs of disappearing anytime soon, high school coaches have the challenge to keep their athletes safe and get back to practicing. © Rick Kintzel/The Morning Call/The Morning Call/TNS Grace Daja a freshman at Liberty High School and member of the girls’ tennis team waits for instruction before practice Wednesday, at the high school in Bethlehem. With COVID-19 not showing signs of disappearing anytime soon, high school coaches have the challenge to keep their athletes safe and get back to practicing.

“That would be a disaster of epic proportions,” said John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.

His comments came at a hearing held by the Republican-led House Majority Policy Committee in a Capitol hearing room. The focus was the July 15 announcement by Wolf, a Democrat, of the 25% limit on indoor dining rooms.

At the time, many had already reopened to the 50% capacity level after earlier virus restrictions were eased.

a person standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Seniors were recognized before the finals of the 2020 Lehigh Valley High School Softball Showcase at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown on Thursday, June 16, 2020. © April Gamiz/The Morning Call/The Morning Call/TNS Seniors were recognized before the finals of the 2020 Lehigh Valley High School Softball Showcase at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown on Thursday, June 16, 2020.

Committee Chairman Rep. Martin Causer said Wolf administration officials were invited to testify but declined.

When Wolf announced the restrictions on July 15, he cited pockets of coronavirus “super-spreading” and pushing up new virus case counts that previously were declining. Wolf said part of the cause was careless actions by bar and restaurant patrons who were “annoyingly spreading, or annoyingly picking up, the virus.”

a girl wearing a hat and sunglasses: Seniors were recognized before the finals of the 2020 Lehigh Valley High School Softball Showcase at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown on Thursday, June 16, 2020. © April Gamiz/The Morning Call/The Morning Call/TNS Seniors were recognized before the finals of the 2020 Lehigh Valley High School Softball Showcase at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown on Thursday, June 16, 2020.

This story will be updated. Morning Call Capitol correspondent Ford Turner can be reached at fturner@mcall.com

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Families greet their graduates on the field after their graduation at Wilson Area High School on Tuesday, July 21. © GABRIELLE RHOADS/THE MORNING CALL/The Morning Call/TNS Families greet their graduates on the field after their graduation at Wilson Area High School on Tuesday, July 21.

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©2020 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

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a woman sitting on a wooden bench: Alecia Caballero opens a barn door. The Blueberry To Go Market Presented by Historic Bethlehem Museum & Sites at the Burnside Plantation in Bethlehem starts Saturday. The 9-day market will be open 10:00 am-6:00 pm to visit onsite the weekends of July 18-19 and 25-26. Drive-thru pickups weekdays Monday-Friday, July 20-24 10:00 am-6:00 pm with Senior Hours 9:00-10:00 am.

Alecia Caballero opens a barn door. The Blueberry To Go Market Presented by Historic Bethlehem Museum & Sites at the Burnside Plantation in Bethlehem starts Saturday. The 9-day market will be open 10:00 am-6:00 pm to visit onsite the weekends of July 18-19 and 25-26. Drive-thru pickups weekdays Monday-Friday, July 20-24 10:00 am-6:00 pm with Senior Hours 9:00-10:00 am.
© April Gamiz/The Morning Call/The Morning Call/TNS
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