Gov. Tom Wolf Ups Restaurant Capacity to 50 Percent

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By NewsRadio 1020 KDKA

HARRISBURG, Pa (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) -  Governor Wolf announced Tuesday that restaurants can increase capacity to 50% beginning on September 21st, up from the current 25% limit that the administration put in place as part of the state's COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Restaurants will have to go through a self-certification process in order to be permitted to operate at the new capacity limit.

“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.”

Documents to self-certify will be made available online starting on September 21 and will have 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.   

Any establishment that wants to increase to 50 percent capacity indoors must complete the online self-certification process by October 5.

Businesses should keep a copy of the self-certification confirmation that they will receive by email.

Coronavirus mitigation efforts must continue to be followed including social distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing surfaces and other practices.

Restaurants that self-certify will be mailed things like window clings and other signage so customers and employees can see they are self-certified.

The list of self-certified restaurants will be available to the PA Department of Agriculture and State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement as well as other agencies.

Beginning October 5, restaurant’s will begin to be inspected by agencies to “focus on educating businesses.”

“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.”  

After September 21 restaurants that sell alcohol will have to close alcohol sales at 10 p.m.

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