Pennsylvania Closes Indoor Pools, Halts Youth and High School Sports

The day after he tested positive for a coronavirus infection, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced new statewide COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday afternoon. The new restrictions will take effect at 12:01AM on Saturday, December 12 and will last through 8AM on Monday, January 4, 2021.

While many of the state’s largest cities had previously announced tighten restrictions among rising cases, Wolf previously declined to tighten safety protocols statewide.

The new order temporarily halts school sports and other extracurricular activities, along with other youth sports throughout the state.

The new order reads as follows:

“All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and club, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused.”

The Pennsylvania Principals Association is recommending a delay of the winter sports season as well, which includes swimming & diving.

That stops both school and club sports from moving forward. That includes a site of the USA Swimming 18 & Under Winter Championships where Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics’ Josh Matheny broke a National Age Group Record on Thursday evening. That meet was originally scheduled to run Friday through Sunday, but now has been collapsed to a Thursday-Friday meet, concluding before the new order takes effect.

Professional and collegiate sports are being allowed to continue, without spectators, ‘in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health.”

Other New Restrictions in Place:

  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities, including pools, are prohibited. Outdoor facilites and outdoor classes can continue, but facemasks must be worn.
  • All indoor dining throughout the state is closed
  • Outdoor dining is allowed to continue, including alcohol sales.
  • Indoor gatherings of more than 10 persons are prohibited, with religious services excluded from those orders. Houses of worship are being “strongly encouraged” to find alternative methods to practice amid the rise in cases.
  • Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 people are prohibited.
  • All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% of maximum capacity
  • All in-person venues in the entertainment industry, including theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, and private clubs, must close.

Pennsylvania has seen a dramatic increase in new coronavirus cases since early October. On October 1, the state’s 7-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases was 980 according to coronavirus data. On Wednesday, that rate was more than 10-times as many, with almost 10,000 new daily cases.

The state is hitting daily records for COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 5,852 persons hospitalized as of Wednesday, December 9. Deaths attributed to COVID-19 are also rising: Wednesday recorded 247 deaths, which is the state’s 4th-highest total of the pandemic and most since May 5.

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DutchWomen
1 year ago

Those in opposition to shutting down: “Living life is worth the risk of someone under 18 dying from COVID.”

Now…who among them is willing to put their money where their mouth is? What if it was their child? If I am being honest – I am against shutdowns…but you better believe I would feel differently if it were my child that must die to stay open!

All of life and politics is a simple trolley problem. If more people thought this way we might get along better.

Eddie Morra
1 year ago

For months and months we’ve been told ‘follow the science’. They even made this a political thing, saying that democrats follow the science more than conservatives. Well, LET’S FOLLOW THE SCIENCE THEN !! Show me the stats on how many hospitalizations have been caused by swimming and I’ll agree with all this. But you know what ? Stats like this don’t exist and all these restrictions ( with very few exceptions like social distancing ) put their basis on FEAR and HYPOTHESIS. Even about the masks there are DOZENS of study ( published on Science and Nature, the last one comes from Denmark ) that show no effectiveness in slowing the spread of the virus. So where is the science… Read more »

swimapologist
Reply to  Eddie Morra
1 year ago

So then you would be willing to follow the science in other areas in exchange for pools reopening?

I agree with you to a point. But, I think if people had started following the science sooner, then we wouldn’t be in the midst of these spikes that have pushed states to make sweeping shutdowns. 

But y’all are going to keep YOLO’ing it on everything else, so we needed a reset. You’ve made the bed, now we all have to lie in it.

We knew that private gatherings for Thanksgiving were going to cause massive spread. And it did. And people did it anyway. You can’t come back now and say “but wahhh we’ll follow the science I promise waahhhhh.”

Doconc
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

Incorrect. Our community has seen a decrease in virus hospitalization since thanksgiving

In kentucky 30% of all cases are in one county (Louisville)

Some areas are prone to violating the rules
Lock them down- not us

swimapologist
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

This article isn’t about Kentucky or your community then is it? As far as I can tell, pools in Kentucky are still open, so I imagine that the complaint wasn’t about Kentucky either. So, good for you guys.

https://governor.ky.gov/covid19

Doconc
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

Read more. Tin pot dictator governor shut all swim teams down despite no transfer

swimapologist
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

But….he shut them down before Thanksgiving with the order set to expire December 13, right? You said hospitalizations have been dropping since Thanksgiving, right? And so the order is expiring and not being extended?

So what is the problem? Sounds like the system is working exactly as it should.

Doconc
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

Read more. He extended lockdown 2 more weeks

swimapologist
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

You keep saying “read more” but everything I read says the order is expiring. If you think you’re right, why don’t you show me where?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fox19.com/2020/12/10/live-gov-beshear-updates-covid-response-kentucky/%3foutputType=amp

“Pressed on whether he has considered extending the order, the governor repeated he always meant the order to be “time-limited” and that data show it has worked as intended.”

Eddie Morra
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

You missed my point. I am willing to follow the science, but the so called science MUST EXIST in order to be followed. Does getting closer to eachother increase the spread of the virus ? Yes, it’s a fact, that’s why I respect social distancing. Does wearing a yellow shirt increase the chances of getting the virus ? No, there is not science behind that, that’s why it would be nonsense to ban yellow shirts. And the same goes for everything else. If you make a restriction based on fear instead of science, you are not right. This all is hypocritical. Where was the science in banning church gatherings but allowing 7+millions people gathering supporting BLM ? And BTW a… Read more »

swimapologist
Reply to  Eddie Morra
1 year ago

Good for you. Now tell all of your friends to do the same, and maybe we’ll get out of this quagmire.

Splash and dash
Reply to  Eddie Morra
1 year ago

Here some science for you. Viruses don’t know county boundaries. If it did it would have stayed in China. Instead it went through our country like wildfire because of people like you, rich or poor, black or white, rural or urban who thought they wouldn’t get it. References:. Texas, Florida, s. Dakota, n. Dakota.

Eddie Morra
Reply to  Splash and dash
1 year ago

Maybe you didn’t understand what I’m saying. My point is that if you are willing to destroy the lifes of billions of people, you better have evidence that the restrictions you are imposing are based on science and that if you did the opposite the virus would spread like crazy. This evidence, talking about shutting down pools, and this is not an issue of opinion, that’s a fact, DOES NOT EXIST. It exists about a stadium with spectators or a concert at full capacity, but not about swimming, neither about masks ( in no state in US neither in any nation around the world the virus slowed down its spreading after masks became mandatory ). You can believe whatever you… Read more »

Splash and dash
Reply to  Eddie Morra
1 year ago

Wasn’t aware Pennsylvania had the population of “billions of people”. Thanks for the education.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Splash and dash
1 year ago

How are the Amish & Mennonites faring in Pa ?

VikingMan
Reply to  Eddie Morra
1 year ago

Knock yourself out. He who does not look, will not find – VikingMan 2020

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=peer+reviewed+covid+spread+study&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

Bubbles
1 year ago

Mel Stewart “stupid question” : has any youth athlete contracted COVID from a pool, been hospitalized or died?

Bubbles
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

“I do understand why cities and states are making broad sweeping shutdowns. States like Pennsylvania have to do something to get the hospital situation under control.”

The premise that we are all equally vulnerable to the disease and we are all equally affected by the lockdown is false. Who actually bears the burden of the lockdown?

Bubbles
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

The point is simple, the burden is placed on the poor.

Economic costs mount, the belief that a lockdown is putting human lives ahead of the economy is shown to be based on a false dichotomy. The trade off is not between saving lives versus saving the economy instead. This is between saving lives from a massive increase in poverty and hunger in the USA and globally as a result of lockdowns, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable. Head Start programs cancelled due to no funding or support, school meals gone, Meals on Wheels for elderly out of funding…….to just name a few.

I am confident your friend has seen the impact of this on public health as… Read more »

VikingMan
Reply to  Bubbles
1 year ago

A lot of bad logic here. Covid impacts the poor more than the affluent (just as you say it impacts them economically. Better alive and/or not spreading a virus than dead and economically stable.

VikingMan
Reply to  Bubbles
1 year ago

The answer is yes. Teams are voluntarily quarantining groups inside their teams and have no responsibility to report it to anyone. I know first hand of 2 teams.

Eddie Morra
1 year ago

Do they use dominion to count covid cases too ?

VikingMan
Reply to  Eddie Morra
1 year ago

All of the nutz definitely fell out of the nutbag here.

cold swimmer
1 year ago

Back to swimming outside 🙂

VikingMan
1 year ago

Seems like a lot of people on this thread are failing to understand 2 things. (1) Kids easily transport the virus to each other, family members, and people outside their family without showing symptoms. (2) Hospitals are nearing capacity and people who need care will not get it. Please stay safe and do your part.

Doconc
Reply to  VikingMan
1 year ago

If you have school kids u know this is false

VikingMan
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

How so? Are you going to say, “Some people say…” or “I hear that…”

Doconc
Reply to  VikingMan
1 year ago

42 Jesuit high schools in Midwest consortium
Zero in school transmission this year with in person school and sports

“Some people say” that school is safe

swimapologist
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

The Catholics are smart. They’ve had lots of practice at hiding things. They know if they don’t put any effort into tracking in-school transmissions, they can report that they haven’t found any ;-).

Doconc
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

This is religion bashing
U have eliminated yourself from meaningful debate

Corn Pop
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

So you do not trust the Covid 19 statistics from the extensive hospital networks run by Catholics ?

Florida Coach
1 year ago

With little or no College teams renting pool space this Christmas Holidays. I sure there are plenty lanes available for Northern Teams to come on down and get some training. Just leave your politics up North.

Vanilla Gorilla
Reply to  Florida Coach
1 year ago

Yes let’s travel across the country during a pandemic to a state with low controls on virus spread and then come back and infect the community. This is a good and very intelligent comment.

Coachmommy
1 year ago

CT paused in November and the earliest date to restart is Jan 19, 2021. I don’t like hearing mainstream media and government using the phrase “trust the science” and “follow the science” while at the same time ignoring the very thorough data that CT coaches statewide had collected. Why require everyone to take it, only to have it be completely dismissed? Essentially 7+ months of information documenting consistent lack of spread at indoor facilities with swim teams practicing. Apparently only the science that shows something is dangerous and scary matters.

Kate
Reply to  Coachmommy
1 year ago

I’ve grown to hate the phrase “trust the science” because most of these decisions are clearly not data- or science-driven. They’re being made so that Lamont and the administration can claim to be doing SOMETHING. I’m convinced that the team sports pause happened because youth sports are a soft target without a powerful lobby like the restaurant association – remember, CT says it’s “safe” to dine indoors at a restaurant or catch a comedy show at Mohegan Sun, but not safe for our kids to have a swim practice with all protocols in place.

We’re livid that the state completely ignored 7 months of data showing that swim teams practicing indoors is not a source of transmission. The coaches… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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