Virus precautions close businesses, cancel events

MONICA PRYTS | Allied NewsGrove City Premium Outlets in Springfield Township has closed in response to COVID-19 precautions. It’s expected to reopen on March 29.

COVID-19 precautions and restrictions continue to impact businesses, events and organizations.

The parking lot of Grove City Premium Outlets in Springfield Township was empty on Thursday, the day after company officials announced that it would be closed until March 29.

Representatives of Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, said in a news release that they spoke with federal, state and local officials about the best measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

“The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance and we are taking this step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said David Simon, chair and chief executive officer of the company.

The Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage also has closed temporarily.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf previously asked non-essential businesses to close temporarily. On Thursday, he ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close.

Some grocery stores have adjusted their hours or put a limit on how many products people can buy.

Restaurants and bars are not allowed to have dine-in services, but take-out and delivery orders are permitted.

Hospitals

The three hospital systems operating in Mercer County have changed their visitor policies in response to the outbreak.

All the hospitals — Sharon Regional Medical Center, AHN Grove City, and the UPMC Horizon hospitals in Farrell and Greenville — now prohibit visitors younger than 18. The hospitals all will provide an initial screening to visitors, and anyone ill will be prohibited from entering.

• AHN Grove City – Only two visitors at a time will be allowed in the labor and delivery deparstment, pediatrics and end of life care.

Visiting hours are now limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and only visitors age 18 and older are permitted.

• Sharon Regional – No visitors will be permitted at the hospital’s transitional care unit, and patients will be allowed two adult visitors per day. Emergency and surgical patients may be accompanied by one visitor during their treatment in those departments.

Women in labor may be accompanied by a maximum of two visitors, subject to travel, illness and screening restrictions.

Sharon Regional has erected a temporary tent near the emergency room to serve as a holding area for patients with flu-like symptoms The medical tent will be open from 8 a.m. through midnight.

• UPMC Horizon – Visitors will be permitted only in special situations, approved by the facility administrator or designated manager. Special situations may include end-of-life visitation and when a visitor is essential for the resident’s emotional well-being and care.

Volunteer activities in all UPMC hospitals and facilities are suspended.

PSSA tests canceled

The Pennsylvania Department of Education canceled all public school standardized tests for 2019-20. The state will not administer PSSA, PASA and Keystone Exams.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, Chester County, announced the testing cancellation. Dinniman had introduced a bill to stop the testing for this year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The PDE has made a decision which is in the best needs of the students in this unprecedented time, and I fully support it,” Dinniman said.

He also is a sponsor for Senate Bill 1094, to allow school districts to advance with online instruction and requires the Department of Education to develop plans for districts that don’t have capacity to provide online instruction.

Day care centers

The Sycamore Center in Hermitage, Children’s Aid Society in Mercer, and Jubilee Day Care in Clarks Mills are accepting students for day care services.

The centers have all been given waivers allowing them to remain in operation to serve families in the medical field and other life-sustaining jobs that are exempt from Gov. Tom Wolf’s business closure orders.

Shenango River Lake

Shenango River Lake is open – but with restrictions, the Army Corps of Engineers said. The Army Corps oversees and manages the lake.

“Feel free to enjoy yourself at the park,’’ said Mark Thompson, public affairs specialist for the Army Corps’ Pittsburgh district. “But there are guidelines that need to be followed.’’

People can visit the park by walking, driving or cycling through it, Thompson said. Also, the launches will be open, so visitors can put boats in the lake and retrieve them.

However, all campsites are closed, along with shelters, pavilions, picnic areas, restrooms, and park offices.

Fishing piers and playgrounds also will be closed. Further, visitors also will be required to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for COVID-19, an illness caused by the coronavirus.

“There shouldn’t be gatherings of more than 10 people,’’ Thompson said.

Event cancellations

These events and programs have been canceled or rescheduled:

• The Springfield Township Planning Commission has canceled its regular monthly meeting set for March 23. The township building is closed to the public, but can be reached by calling 724-748-4999.

• The Grove City Area United Way will be rescheduling its annual awards luncheon, which was set for March 25.

• A ceremony to honor Vietnam War-era veterans that was planned for March 26 in Slippery Rock has been canceled.

• Local author Daisy Beiler Townsend will not be hosting a book signing on March 27 at Lakeview Area Public Library, which hopes to reschedule. All public libraries in Pennsylvania are closed, and they’re expected to reopen March 30.

• SandyLake Con set for March 28 at Lakeview High School is canceled.

• Grove City High School was going to perform “Mary Poppins” April 2 through 4. They’re hoping to reschedule, depending on when public schools resume classes.

The governor ordered public schools in Pennsylvania to close for two weeks, with a tentative reopening date of March 30.

• A community Easter egg hunt planned for April 11 in Sandy Lake is canceled.

• The Mercer County Historical Society has canceled its discussion groups and its headquarters until further notice. Executive Director Bill Philson can be reached at wcphilson@gmail.com

• All Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce events are canceled through the end of March. The ribbon cutting for Stranahan Stranahan & Cline that was scheduled for March 20 has been postponed until noon May 15, and the Eggs’n Issues scheduled for March 26 will be rescheduled.

The chamber staff is working from home and can be reached at 724-458-6410 or info@shopgrovecity.com

• The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has canceled its programming and events through April 4.

• The Butler County Symphony Orchestra has canceled all remaining concerts for this season. Those who bought tickets can donate them back to the organization; exchange for a future performance; or get a refund.

For more information, email butlersymphony@zoominternet.net or call 724-283-1402. The symphony office is closed, so responses may be delayed.

• NWPA Registered Apprenticeship Network Employer and Training Provider meetings have been canceled.

HAS YOUR event or program been canceled or postponed in response to COVID-19? Send the information in writing to Allied News by emailing: news@alliednews.com

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