Governor Wolf: Restaurants can increase indoor capacity to 50% beginning Sept. 21

Coronavirus

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that restaurants can increase indoor occupancy to 50% starting September 21st. 

Restaurants are asked to self-certify that they are complying to all public health safety guidelines and orders. Those that self-certify will appear in the Open & Certified Pennsylvania online database of certified restaurants across the Commonwealth.

Any restaurant that wishes to ​increase to 50% indoor capacity on September 21st must complete the online self-certification process by October 5th.

“While our aggressive and appropriate mitigation efforts have kept case counts low, we must continue to take important steps to protect public health and safety as we head into the fall. At the same time, we must also support the retail food services industry that has struggled throughout this pandemic,” Gov. Wolf said. “The self-certification ensures that ​restaurants can expand indoor operations and commit to all appropriate orders so that employees and customers alike can be confident they are properly protected.” 

Governor Tom Wolf

Social distancing, masking and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons. Also, starting September 21st, restaurants that have alcohol sales will close alcohol sales at 10 p.m.

The self-certification documents and information about the Open & Certified Pennsylvania program can be found online starting September 21st and will contain the following:  

  • A list of requirements contained in the current restaurant industry guidance and enforcement efforts;   
  • A statement that the owner has reviewed and agrees to follow these requirements;  
  • The business’ maximum indoor occupancy number based on the fire code; and  
  • A statement that the owner understands that the certification is subject to penalties for unsworn falsification to authorities.   

“We recognize the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Pennsylvania’s small businesses, especially on our restaurants,” added Gov. Wolf. “Through this self-certification process, our commonwealth’s restaurant industry will ensure the safety and well-being of both employees and patrons alike, and will be able to begin a return to normal operations and financial recovery.”  

Governor Tom Wolf

Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus Spokesperson Jason Gottesman made the following comment in response to the governor’s announcement:

“Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry—including bars and restaurants—has suffered from a lost summer as a result of the governor’s capacity limitations and we remain concerned for the future of many of these establishments. The governor’s announcement today is a step in the right direction, but opening restaurants to 50 percent is merely a break-even point for many of these small businesses and the order puts a number of restrictions on these establishments’ ability to do business.”

“As the House Republican Caucus works toward providing a more robust economic recovery for all Pennsylvanians, we will continue to examine the effects of the governor’s order today.”

Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus Spokesperson Jason Gottesman

Restaurant owners with additional questions about the self-certification program can contact covidselfcert@pa.gov

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Pennsylvania COVID-19 Map

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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