(The Center Square) – As the delta variant of COVID-19 increases cases nationwide, a Pennsylvania hospitality business group has embarked on the vaccination effort while the state is in behind on its statewide target of 70%.
“Do you remember the closings, the massive layoffs and the closings of businesses? The hotel industry is beginning a slow process of recovery and the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) wishes to continue its momentum by doing its part for public health, ”said Lorraine Gimblett, spokesperson for the association.
She said PRLA had started partnering with healthcare providers to host pop-ups vaccination clinics at local street fairs, festivals and barbecues last month.
Two other events will be happen August 1 at the Masjid Al-Madinah Islamic Center and Don Pedro’s grocery store in Haut Darby. The Fatima Outreach Center in Bensalem will host its own clinic on the same day and a fourth is scheduled for August 6 at Clark Park in Philadelphia. Gimblett said more clinics will be added “daily”.
“Not only will these efforts increase the number of people vaccinated – AKA guests in restaurants, bars and hotels – but will also protect hotel workers and business owners as indoor masking is not largely not necessary, ”she said.
Bars and restaurants have suffered the brunt of the economic impact of Governor Tom Wolf’s pandemic mitigation measures, with bans on indoor eating and late-night alcohol sales for more than ‘a year.
The restaurant industry employs more than 500,000 residents statewide, although the federal government The data shows that this number decreased by 29.4% during 2020.
Three in 10 businesses closed, at least temporarily, during the height of the pandemic in March and April, according to federal data, after the Wolf administration adopted some of the most stringent mitigation efforts nationwide.
Wolf said on Monday he would not reinstate the closures, even as cases of COVID-19 caused by variants increase in the state. That’s why he said immunization remains a priority – and on that front, Pennsylvania “is making good progress.”
About 62.8% of all residents are fully immunized, according to the Department of Health. It also ranks 8th nationally for total number of doses administered and first for vaccines administered to residents 65 years of age and older.
“I think what we need to do is redouble our efforts on vaccines to make sure we never have to go through what we’ve been through that has forced us to find that money in the first place,” said Wolf.
Gimblett said PRLA “will do its part to reach members of the community where they eat, drink and congregate.”