Were travel restrictions in Pennsylvania even followed?

March 2 – With Governor Wolf announcing the reversal of the travel bans in Pennsylvania, how many people are really affected? This made the topic table on First News today with Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen.

Travel restrictions had been in place in the state that said anyone over the age of 11 who comes into Pennsylvania was required to quarantine for 14 days or provide evidence of a negative COVID test. How many people actually followed that? “Close to zero,” Barkdoll chuckled. “How would the state ever track it? I’m not really sure that policy was well known. I can’t imagine anyone was really following it.” There were signs on the interstate highway system reminding travelers of the need to self-quarantine, but how would it ever be enforced?

“Many states had similar rules,” Barkdoll noted. “Some states even had policies that if you traveled there, you needed to produce a negative COVID test. How would anyone know?”

It’s not like there were check points set up. This announcement came on the heels of Governor Wolf rather quietly extending the CDC governor shut down order for another 90 days, which will go right through the May elections.

“We know this is a ballot question whether his emergency powers can continue to be exercised without legislative approval,” Barkdoll said.

This means restaurant capacity, mandatory telework and other restrictions are in place through the end of May.  

“It seems like a lot of power and I think people have finally kind of had it,” Jansen said. “They don’t care anymore.”

“I think people have COVID fatigue,” Barkdoll added. “I think people are cognizant that these orders are in place, but we see numbers going down and vaccines rolling out. Johnson and Johnson’s one-shot vaccine is being distributed as we speak. I just don’t think people have any interest or appetite to be living under these restrictions for another three months or six months or whatever the case may be. The governor can keep pushing these orders out, but I have real doubts if the public is going to follow these orders.”

The rules will particularly affect sports venues.

“This will allow those venues to accommodate a few more people but it’s still nowhere near where they would be if they were open and doing business as usual,” Barkdoll said.