Pa. Dept. of Health drops lawsuits against restaurants defying December indoor restrictions

Coronavirus

The orders came after the state faced massive COVID-19 spikes during the holiday season

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health has dropped its lawsuits against 46 restaurants that kept their dining rooms open during the ban back in December.

Initially filed to Commonwealth Court before Christmas and in January, the department wanted any money the restaurants made during the ban for defying Gov. Wolf’s orders and “punitive damages for the willful and wanton violation of the orders.” The orders came after the state faced massive COVID-19 spikes during the holiday season.

The petition to drop the suits Friday is based on the “decline in new cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 as well as continued increase in vaccinations.” The petition also included the lifting of restrictions on Memorial Day weekend.

“The majority of restaurants have come into compliance with the Secretary of Health’s orders to protect their customers from the spread of COVID-19 within their communities. Therefore, the commonwealth discontinued taking action against these businesses,” Maggie Barton, a health department spokeswoman said.

The cases were initially scheduled for oral arguments in June.

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