Governor Wolf modifies restrictions on restaurants and bars

Today Governor Tom Wolf updated how bars and restaurants can operate in the green phase of the pandemic reopening and stressed the need for telework to continue when possible. His reasoning was an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

From the announcement:

During the past week, we have seen an unsettling climb in new COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 cases peaked in Pennsylvania on April 9 with nearly 2,000 new cases. If we don’t act now, medical experts are projecting that this new surge in cases could soon eclipse the peak in April.

These COVID-19 restrictions worked during the first wave in the spring, and they will work again if we all do our part. Thank you to every Pennsylvanian for your continued patience and support.

Below are the updated restrictions of operating in the green phase.

Businesses Restrictions

  • UPDATED – Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements
  • All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy, Except Where Noted for Bars and Restaurants
  • Masks Are Required in Businesses
  • Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
  • Congregate Care Restrictions in Place
  • Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities
  • Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance

Social Restrictions

  • UPDATED – Indoor Gatherings of More Than 25 Prohibited; Outdoor Gatherings of More Than 250 Prohibited
  • Masks Are Required in all Public Spaces
  • UPDATED – Restaurants and Bars Open at 25% Capacity for Indoor Dining
  • UPDATED -On-premises Alcohol Consumption Prohibited Unless Part of a Meal; Cocktails-to-go and Carryout Beverages are Allowed
  • Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
  • Indoor Recreation and Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged; Fitness Facilities Are Directed to Prioritize Outdoor Fitness Activities
  • All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols

There are two big changes. The first is that bars and restaurants in the green phase had initially been allowed to operate with 50% indoor capacity. That is now cut back to 25%.

The second one is that you have to be served a meal to consume alcohol on the premises of a restaurant or bar. That will effectively close neighbor bars that don’t serve food. They are still able to sell drinks to-go, but that likely isn’t sustainable.

Photo: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania