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Theodore J. Zeller III
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Pennsylvania to Permit Outdoor Dining on June 5 in Yellow Phase Counties and Issues Guidance for Dine-In Service for Green Phase Counties on May 29

Pennsylvania to Permit Outdoor Dining and Issues Guidance for In-Person Dine-In Service at Food, Beverage, and Hospitality Businesses and Restaurants: New PLCB Guidance on Governor Wolf’s “Meal” Requirement Restrictions

Yellow Phase – Outdoor Dining

Beginning June 5, restaurants and retail foodservice businesses located in counties designated as being in the yellow phase are permitted to add dine-in service in outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits:

  • Using self-service food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, and condiments.
  • Condiments must be removed from tables and dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer.
  • Using reusable menus, other than digital menus sanitized after each use.
  • Refilling food and beverage containers or implements brought in by customers.

It is important to note that the guidance states it is not bypassing your local government and, possibly the PLCB. We are going to get clarification from the PLCB if any approval from them will be required and update this post accordingly. Regardless, you will still be required to get the required local permitting to permit outdoor seating and dining, such as a sidewalk permit or other outdoor service permit if the municipality requires it and you do not already have it.

Green Phase – Resume Dine-In Service

The following counties will enter the green phase on May 29 at 12:01 AM, which will permit restaurants and licensed businesses to resume dine-in service up to 50% of their capacity, as further discussed below: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango, and Warren. The link for the full guidance is included below, but the main points from the guidance are that businesses must do the following:

  • Bar seating may be utilized if customers are seated and comply with physical distancing guidelines of at least six feet or physical barriers between customers. Standing in a bar area will not be permitted.
  • A maximum of four customers that have a common relationship may sit together at the bar while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines or barriers between other customers.

Applicable Rules for Yellow and Green County Service

  • Method 1: Limit to 50% of stated fire capacity or twelve people per 1,000 square feet if there is not a fire code number available. When no fire code number is available for outdoor dining, the twelve people per 1,000 square feet number should be applied.
  • Method 2: Arrange the restaurant or retail foodservice business so that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table in any direction and calculate the maximum number of customers that can be accommodated.
  • Utilize reservations for dining on-premises to maintain records of all appointments, including contact information for all customers.

For information regarding national and state liquor law matters or general manufacturing and distribution advice, please contact our Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group: Liquor Law Department Chair Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire (tzeller@norris-law.com); David C. Berger, Esquire (dberger@norris-law.com) for Pennsylvania and New Jersey retail and manufacturing licensing; or contact our offices at 610-391-1800.

The information contained in this post may not reflect the most current developments, as the subject matter is extremely fluid and constantly changing. Please continue to monitor this site for ongoing developments. Readers are also cautioned against taking any action based on information contained herein without first seeking advice from professional legal counselFor more topics related to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.

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Theodore J. Zeller III
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Theodore J. Zeller III
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