Pennsylvania announces new temporary COVID-19 restrictions, including indoor dining prohibition

The below information is current as of the publication date listed. Because COVID-19 response measures on all fronts are continually evolving, clients should stay alert to new developments and consult with counsel on any critical questions.

With COVID-19 cases spreading across Pennsylvania to an all-time high and straining healthcare providers, Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued orders yesterday, December 10, which impose significant restrictions on activities to mitigate the impact of the virus over the next three weeks.

Beginning at 12:01 am on Saturday, December 12, all indoor dining and alcohol sales at retail food establishments, including bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries and catered events are prohibited. Outdoor dining, take-out food service and delivery, and take-out alcohol are still permitted, subject to current laws, limitations and restrictions governing those specific services.

In addition to the prohibition on indoor dining, indoor gatherings and events exceeding 10 people are prohibited. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.

All in-person business at entertainment facilities including theaters, concert venues, casinos, movie theaters, private clubs and similar social facilities are prohibited. General retail operations are also impacted by the new restrictions — all in-person businesses serving the public within a building or defined area may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum occupancy capacity.

The new restrictions will remain in place until at least Monday, January 4, 2021 at 8:00 a.m.

The provisions of the Governor’s November 23, 2020 order concerning telework, cleaning, other mitigation protocols and enforcement remain in effect.

The full announcement can be found here and the Department of Health’s frequently asked questions can be found here.

Saxton & Stump attorneys Ken McDermott and Kim Selemba are available to assist hospitality businesses with these and other issues as they continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.