Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Governor Wolf Announces New Restrictions for Bars and Restaurants Due to Uptick in Positive Coronavirus Cases

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced new restrictions after he said what he called a "unsettling climb" in Coronavirus cases recently.

Recently the state of Pennsylvania has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 cases mainly in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh area.  Most recently as Wednesday, the state of Pennsylvania saw almost 1,000 new positive cases statewide.

Due to the uptick in cases, Wolf announced Wednesday that new restrictions would be put back in place on bars, clubs, and restaurants.

During a press conference, Wolf cited three reasons why he thought the cases were increasing.

"First some Pennsylvanians have been ignoring the mask wearing requirements and social distancing when they’re visiting PA bars and restaurants. They are unknowingly spreading or unknowingly picking up the virus. This carelessness has resulted in pockets of super spreading.”

Wolf also noted "out of state" travel as a cause.

“The third catalyst for this new upsurge is a lack of national coordination. That has resulted in the state in the south and southwest especially, not committing to the things they should have done to keep this virus from spreading.”

As part of the new restrictions,
  • All bars must close unless they offer sit-down, dine-in meals.
  • Alcohol only can be served if the person is also buying food. 
  • All service must be at a table or booth; bar service is prohibited.
  • Take-out sales of alcohol are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.
  • Limited to 25 percent maximum occupancy for indoor dining.
  • A discrete indoor event or gathering in a business in the retail food services industry is limited to 25 persons.
  • 25 percent maximum occupancy for indoor dining. 
  • A discrete indoor event or gathering in a business in the retail food services industry is limited to 25 persons.
  • 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.
  • The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.
  • Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons. 
  • All nightclubs must close.
  • Indoor events and gatherings can’t exceed more than 25 people. 
  • Outdoor events and gatherings cant exceed more than 250 people.
State Senator Dave Argall has already issued a statement condemning the restrictions.

"The Governor doesn’t understand rural Pennsylvania. We heard it firsthand during my four Policy Committee hearings in the last few weeks: Rising numbers of COVID 19 cases in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia do not mean the Governor should hurt restaurant and bar employees in Sinking Spring, Womelsdorf and Shenandoah.”

“This further ruling by the Governor—who continues to act like King Tom the first, without the approval of the House, the Senate, our local governments, or the public could be the final stake in the heart for many small business employers and thousands of employees in the small towns which I represent.”

Video of Argall's Comments

7/15/20 - Restaurants - Senate Republican Caucus

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