The Wolf Administration reminded Pennsylvanians of the requirements put in place for restaurants and bars to protect the health and safety of workers and patrons from COVID-19.
“As we continue to make public health and safety a top priority, it’s also important that we take measured and necessary steps so that Pennsylvanians can patronize businesses safely,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “Restaurants and bars offer families and friends a place to gather and socialize while enjoying food and drink, and we want to make sure that business owners and staff have the proper precautions in place to protect workers and patrons. We have put forth guidance with critical requirements to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 so that these businesses can remain open.”
Under the governor’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania, in the green phase of the state’s reopening plan restaurants and bars may open at 50 percent occupancy.
Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry guidance was developed in coordination with the Restaurant and Lodging Association. Pursuant to the guidance, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry are required to do the following:
- Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting, or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business. Face coverings may be removed while seated.
- Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back. If tables or other seating are not movable, seat parties at least six feet apart.
- Where possible, stagger work stations to avoid employees standing next to each other. Where six feet of separation is not possible, consider spacing options that include other mitigation efforts with increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.
- Establish a limit for the number of employees in shared spaces, including break rooms, and offices to maintain at least a six-foot distance.
- Don’t use shared tables among multiple parties unless the seats can be arranged to maintain six feet of distance between parties.
- Train all employees on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, and provide clear instructions to avoid touching hands to face.
- Assign employee(s) to monitor and clean high touch areas frequently while in operation.
- Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart in lines or waiting for seating or in line for the restroom.
No business is required to conduct in-person operations and should not do so if unable to follow applicable guidance.
As the Wolf administration closely monitors public health indicators, strict compliance with the guidance is critical to prevent spread, and the need for more stringent restrictions.
The administration also supports local governments’ more stringent protections for dining establishments’ workers and customers, such as those actions taken this week by Allegheny and Philadelphia counties.
The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) will be conducting compliance checks at licensed facilities to ensure that the requirements of the guidance are observed. Failure to comply risks citation by the BLCE, a fine of up to $1,000, and possible suspension and/or revocation of the liquor license.
More information about the Wolf Administration’s COVID-19 response is available at http://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/.