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Wolf to close bars, reduce restaurant seating to stop COVID resurgence

Governor Tom Wolf PHOTO/FILE –

 

As Pennsylvania’s rate of COVID-19 infections begin to climb since moving into the green phase of the state’s reopening plan, Gov. Tom Wolf has issued new orders today that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. July 16.

The new orders will prohibit all bars from conducting operations unless they offer sit-down, dine-in meals. All service must be at a table or booth. Bar service is prohibited. Eating establishments will be limited to 25 percent of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining. Indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.

The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, and bars, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, 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, as required by the order, including:

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.

Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons.

Nightclubs are prohibited from conducting operations.

Teleworking is also being emphasized

Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.

Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.

All gyms and fitness facilities, while permitted to continue indoor operations, are directed to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. All activities must follow masking requirements as provided by the July 1 order, and must provide for social distancing requirements of persons being at least 6 feet apart.

“During the past week, we have seen an unsettling climb in new COVID-19 cases,” Gov. Wolf said. “When we hit our peak on April 9, we had nearly two thousand new cases that day with other days’ cases hovering around 1,000. Medical experts looking at the trajectory we are on now are projecting that this new surge could soon eclipse the April peak. With our rapid case increases we need to act again now.”

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at swescoe@bridgetowermedia.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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