(WETM) – Governor Tom Wolf today issued an order that will suspend all stay-at-home orders in 18 counties, including Bradford and Tioga County, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 29 and expand dining once the green phase goes into effect.
The order includes provisions for businesses that were permitted to conduct in-person operations in the yellow phase, those permitted to operate with some restrictions on in-person operations and those that were not permitted any in-person operations under the yellow phase.
The order also includes guidance on occupancy limits and health and safety orders that business must adhere to under the green phase.
Specifics are included on those areas that have raised questions from business owners and residents, including:
- Personal care services, including hair salons and barber shops must operate by appointment only; appointments or reservations are also strongly encouraged for gyms or spas.
- Any gathering for a planned or spontaneous event of greater than 250 individuals is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, a concert, festival, fair, conference, sporting event, movie showing, or theater performance.
- Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations established by the order. These institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing and other mitigation measures such as masking at their gatherings.
- Visitation to prisons and hospitals may resume subject to the discretion of the facility. Visitors who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene. Given the critical importance of limiting COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes, nursing home visitation restrictions will initially remain in place.
The Governor also issued guidance for restaurants to allow for certain dining.
Green Phase Dining (Tioga and Bradford County begin on May 29)
Retail food service businesses, including restaurants, and bars located in counties designated as being in the green phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits:
- Bar seating may be utilized if customers are seated and comply with physical distancing guideline of at least 6 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.
No business is required to conduct in-person operations and should not do so if unable to follow applicable guidance.
Yellow Phase Outdoor Dining
Beginning June 5, restaurants and retail food service 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:
- Indoor areas, including bar areas, of restaurants and retail food service businesses must be closed to customers except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.
- Customers being served must be seated at a table.
Prohibitions are also included. The following are not permitted:
- Self-service food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, condiments, and drink stations.
- Condiments on tables; these must be dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer.
- Reusable menus.
- Refilling food and beverage containers or allowing implements brought in by customers.
Dining guidance provides businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry with specific details on operations, including following the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, available here, and provisions specific to mask-wearing, table-spacing, occupancy limits, sanitization, and implementation of a COVID-19 prevention plan, among other provisions to ensure worker and customer safety.
The dining guidance also notes that restaurants and retail food service businesses located in counties designated as being in the red phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales only and may not allow the service or consumption of food or beverages on the premises.
More on the Governor’s order can be found on PA.gov.