January 25, 2022

Volume XII, Number 25

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January 24, 2022

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Some Hospitality Restrictions to Be Lifted in Pennsylvania, but Occupancy Restrictions Remain for All

On March 16, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all restaurants and bars in Allegheny County and the four counties ringing Philadelphia to close their dine-in facilities due to COVID-19’s rapid spread just a day before one of the busiest bar nights of the year — St. Patrick’s Day. Almost exactly one year later, as COVID-19 cases decline and vaccination rates climb, on March 15, Gov. Wolf announced that Pennsylvania will lift some targeted restrictions on hospitality and other businesses, as well as increase gathering limits, beginning April 4.

Hospitality Restrictions to Be Lifted in Pennsylvania

The relief is three weeks away, meaning bars and restaurants will still have to live with the current limits during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the NCAA Tournament’s March Madness. Effective April 4, the following hospitality restrictions will be lifted:

  • Restaurants may resume bar service

  • Alcohol service will be allowed without the purchase of food

  • The curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables by 11:00 PM will be lifted

  • Indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75% for restaurants that are currently self-certified or that undergo the self-certification process and 50% for restaurants that have not self-certified

The self-certification process involves agreeing to strictly comply with all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements contained in the Governor and Secretary of Health’s mitigation and enforcement orders issued November 23, 2020, as amended. As previously noted, restaurants that do not self-certify may raise indoor capacity to 50%. Outdoor dining, curbside pick-up, and takeout are still encouraged. Requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing, including six feet between diners, also still apply.

Other Pennsylvania COVID-19 Restrictions to Be Lifted

Restaurants will not be the only businesses that see a lift on restrictions. Beginning April 4, gyms and entertainment facilities including casinos, theatres, and malls will be allowed to operate at 75% occupancy. Gov. Wolf also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.

While the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has yet to release its updated guidance for these updated restrictions, we do expect that to be in place by April 4. As has been common over the last year, the PLCB’s guidance will likely remain mostly the same and simply update the restrictions to match what is currently in place.

©2022 Norris McLaughlin P.A., All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 76
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About this Author

Brandon J. Lee Liquor Law Attorney Norris McLaughlin PA
Attorney

Brandon J. Lee concentrates his practice on liquor law with a passion for the craft beverage industry.

Brandon supports our extensive Liquor Law, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group. He handles regulatory work with various states’ alcoholic beverage control, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), and the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). He assists in the drafting and review of distribution...

484-765-2216
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