Governor Wolf to allow outdoor dining for yellow phase counties; issues guidance on professional sports


WJET/WFXP (Erie)- Governor Tom Wolf issued an order Wednesday to elaborate on the reopening process for green phase counties and guidance on outdoor dining for counties in the yellow phase, dining in green counties and professional sports.

Updated Order for Green Phase Counties

  • The order includes provisions for businesses that were permitted conduct in-person operations in the yellow phase, those permitted to operate with some restrictions on in-person operations and those that were not permitted any in-person operations under the yellow phase.
  • The order also includes guidance on occupancy limits and health and safety orders that business must adhere to under the green phase.
  • Specifics are included on those areas that have raised questions from business owners and residents, including:
    • Personal care services, including hair salons and barber shops must operate by appointment only; appointments or reservations are also strongly encouraged for gyms or spas.
    • Any gathering for a planned or spontaneous event of greater than 250 individuals is prohibited.  This includes, but is not limited to, a concert, festival, fair, conference, sporting event, movie showing, or theater performance.
    • Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations established by the order.  These institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing and other mitigation measures such as masking at their gatherings.  
    • Visitation to prisons and hospitals may resume subject to the discretion of the facility. Visitors who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene. Given the critical importance of limiting COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes, nursing home visitation restrictions will initially remain in place.   

Outdoor Dining for Yellow Phase Counties

Beginning on June 5th, restaurants and retail food service businesses located in counties designated as being in yellow phase are permitted to add dine-in service in outdoor seating areas, as long as they adhere to the requirements of the guidance.

  • Indoor areas, including bar areas, of restaurants and retail food service businesses must be closed to customers except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.  
  • Customers being served must be seated at a table. 

Here are some of the prohibitions that are not permitted in the guidance.

  • Self-service food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, condiments, and drink stations. 
  • Condiments on tables; these must be dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer.  
  • Reusable menus.  
  • Refilling food and beverage containers or allowing implements brought in by customers.  

Green Phase Dining

Retail food service businesses, including restaurants, and bars located in counties designated as being in the green phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits: 

  • Bar seating may be utilized if customers are seated and comply with physical distancing guideline of at least 6 feet or physical barriers between customers. Standing in a bar area will not be permitted.  
  • A maximum of four customers that have a common relationship may sit together at the bar, while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines or barriers between other customers. 

No business is required to conduct in-person operations and should not do so if unable to follow applicable guidance.  

Professional Sports Guidance

The Wolf Administration has worked with Pennsylvania’s professional sports teams to develop guidance that allows for competition to resume.

Professional sports, defined as any sporting event at which the participants are paid by a league or team, or at which individuals or teams receive prizes or purse, are allowed to practice or play in the yellow and green phases of reopening without on-site or venue spectators if the team (or league on behalf of the team) has developed a COVID-19 safety plan.

Such a plan must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel.  Also, no fans or spectators may be permitted on interior or exterior venue property.  Professional sports organizations are encouraged to contact the Wolf Administration to share their reopening plans and get them approved by the Department of Health. 

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