Pennsylvania Implements Controversial Travel Restrictions
Anyone visiting Pennsylvania from another state must get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of entering the state.
"If you do not have your test result when you come to Pennsylvania, then you need to quarantine until you get a negative test result," Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said when announcing the new protocols.
Those who do not get a test must quarantine for 14 days. Pennsylvania residents who travel to other states must follow the same rules upon returning home.
As far as enforcement, the state is hoping people comply voluntarily. The order does not apply to people who commute into Pennsylvania for work from neighboring states.
Impact on Tourism Industry
The new travel restrictions are expected to affect the tourism industry. Tourism is an important part of Lancaster County’s economy. It has already taken a hit this year, and the latest guidelines are another blow.
“It will have some impact,” said Joel Cliff, the communications director for Discover Lancaster. He said visitors spend $2.4 billion in a normal year. The pandemic has taken a toll. “It’s easily 50% off, if not higher than that. It’s been tough,” Cliff said.
The new restrictions come during the usually busy holiday season. Cliff hopes travelers will decide to get tested and not put off any trips.
“It certainly is a significant part. We have, over the last few years, really talked about Lancaster County Christmas and kind of packaged things up together so people could see how much there is to do and see here at this time of year,” Cliff said.
Discover Lancaster plans to focus more of its marketing campaign on in-state residents but some of the same health concerns still apply. Tourism officials want everyone who is traveling to be safe and responsible.