Gov. Tom Wolf today announced a significant loosening of restrictions for restaurants and other businesses, citing falling rates of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
Starting April 4, restaurants may resume bar service, and alcohol service will be allowed without the purchase of food, benefiting bars.
“Pennsylvanians have stepped up and done their part of help curb the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said, in a statement. “Our case counts continue to go down, hospitalizations are declining, and the percent positivity rate gets lower every week—all very positive signs. The number of people getting vaccinated increases daily and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It’s time to allow our restaurants, bars and other service businesses to get back to more normal operations.”
For the past year, restaurants, especially those that serve alcoholic beverages, have had to operate under a series of changing rules, including, at one time, a total ban on indoor dining. Today’s announcement represents the loosest restrictions on restaurants and bars since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
In addition, the curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables will be lifted, and the indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75% for restaurants that have agreed to the state’s certification requirements.
Restaurants and bars must still adhere to other COVID-mandated guidelines, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, including keeping unassociated diners at least six feet apart.
Besides restaurants, other restricted businesses will have their capacity increased to 75% on April 4, including entertainment venues, gyms and personal services facilities.
Wolf also announced an increase in event capacities, which will be 25% for indoor events and 75% for outdoor events.
“We’ve come so far and now is not the time to stop the safety measures we have in place to protect ourselves, our families and our communities,” Gov. Wolf said. “Keep wearing a mask, social distancing, and, please, get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”