Starting today, restaurants and bars across Pennsylvania are allowed to open their indoor facilities to 50% of their capacity, doubling the previous limit of 25%.
But it’s not that easy. To keep that capacity limit at 50%, those establishments must fill out a self-certification form from Pennsylvania that requires the owner of the establishment, under the threat of penalties from the state, to promise to adhere to safety standards to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The form is now available, you can find it here. The form must be filled out and returned to the state by October 5. If an establishment does not complete and file the self-certification form, it won’t be allowed to open past the 25% indoor capacity limit.
There was another compromise from the state last week as well. Bars and restaurants that fill out the self-certification will now be allowed to serve alcohol until 11 p.m. The original time the state said they must stop serving alcohol under the new mandate was 10 p.m. All drinks must be consumed by midnight, so patrons have one hour to consume their last drink. The trade-off for self-certification is the increased capacity. Not completing the form does not mean a bar or restaurant is exempt from the other new restrictions, such as the time limitation on consuming alcohol.
Bars and restaurants that do not fill out the certification and allow more than 25% of their indoor capacity into their establishment, who serve drinks after 11 p.m. or have drinks out past midnight, can run the risk of PLCB fines and penalties, including losing their liquor license. With colder temperatures on the way and outdoor seating becoming less desirable for patrons, bars and restaurants should fill out the certification to make sure they legally serve customers at 50% of their indoor capacity.
If you have any questions about filling out the self-certification form, please contact me or any member of the Barley Snyder Hospitality Industry Group.