A federal appeals court on Thursday temporarily restored Pennsylvania’s pandemic restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, putting on hold a judge’s ruling that threw out statewide limits on crowd size.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, may once again enforce size limits on gatherings while it appeals the lower court order.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV in Pittsburgh, an appointee of President Donald Trump, had ruled against the state’s size limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, saying they violate citizens’ constitutional rights to assemble.
Stickman’s Sept. 14 order prompted many Pennsylvania schools districts to allow more fans in the stands at high school football games and other athletic contests.
The office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro asked the 3rd Circuit to intervene, saying crowd-size limits are a “life-saving mitigation tool” to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
We talked to schools who were planning to add more fans to their stands.
This afternoon I spoke with the Punxsutawney Area School District superintendent about their plans to have fans in the stands.
“For our stadium its 50% capacity, we’re ensuring that all of the students who are participating in the event are getting the appropriate amount of tickets,inside we are using 25%.”
But now, all of that is up in the air.
After today’s ruling Dr. Thomas Lesniewsky says he’ll need to check with his solicitor to see how these plans will change.
I also reached out to the superintendent of the Brockway area school district who said
“I just forwarded the information to our solicitor. I’m sure we will sit down and discuss what action needs to be taken by the district. This ruling will not impact any events for the remainder of this week in Brockway.”
Governor Wolf’s office released this statement saying
“We’re pleased that the court granted our request for a stay on indoor and outdoor gathering limits. This ruling means that the 25 indoor and 250 outdoor gathering orders remain in effect.”