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Some parts of Amish life affected by virus

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Some parts of Amish life affected by virus

LEWISTOWN — Governments often must overcome unique challenges regarding communicating vital information to the Amish, as many shun modern means of sending and receiving information. Making sure the Amish are aware of the risks and symptoms of COVID-19 is no different.

According to Phil Lucas, director of the Mifflin County Office of Public Safety, local Amish are aware of COVID-19 and the orders from Gov. Tom Wolf. Amish schools were contacted earlier this month and informed of the need to close and, in turn, Amish bishops were contacted as well to help spread the word.

Lucas said many Amish businesses fall under the “life-sustaining” businesses category, which means most are permitted to operate a physical location. If a business — Amish or otherwise — is seeking help in determining whether it qualifies as exempt from the governor’s order or needs help with the appeal process, Lucas said his office will do what it can to help or direct business owners to the right sources.

Spring is a time many Amish weddings take place, which can draw large crowds of family and friends, sometimes from as far away as other states. Lucas said he has heard from people expressing concerns about these gatherings continuing to take place in light of strong recommendations from experts that groups larger than 10 not gather for fear of risking transmitting the coronavirus.

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Lucas said some of the most recent guidance the governor’s office has given is a press release in which religious activities, among other things, are specifically exempt.

However, Lucas reiterates the governor’s order that recommends large gatherings not be allowed, although there is no specific order prohibiting […]

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