The recently formed safe restaurant group in Pittsburgh is now operating countywide.

Safe Service PGH has partnered with Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA), to form Safe Service Allegheny.

The collaborative effort includes developing a member toolkit to help with guideline compliance and will provide resources to food and beverage-based businesses throughout Allegheny County.

Safe Service PGH was recently formed by food and beverage-based business owners and event industry professionals to provide a professional community and access to resources and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform provides a pledge for members to commit to follow safety guidelines set forth by the state and county — and for guests and patrons to commit to following the rules and supporting businesses who made the pledge.

The PRLA PA Restaurant Promise has been integrated into the Safe Service PGH Member Pledge to provide further support to industry professionals statewide.

“It made complete sense to merge our statewide PRLA PA Restaurant Promise initiative fully with the Safe Service PGH initiative and we hope to see this format take shape throughout the state,” says John Longstreet, president and CEO of the PRLA.

“A majority of Allegheny County’s business owners are galvanized to do the right thing, and both large and small businesses have come together not only to commit to safety, but to give greater voice to their needs and issues during this crisis,” he adds.

It’s not just a commitment to safety, he says, but also “a way for business owners to be heard and hopefully start informing county and statewide policy so that we can all continue to operate safely.”

The Allegheny County Health Department is providing support and resources to members of Safe Service Allegheny through its COVID Field Response Team which monitors and tracks compliance. It also provides ongoing education for food and beverage businesses.

“The Health Department’s Food Safety Program has found that overwhelmingly most restaurants in Allegheny County are doing a great job and following all food safety rules, and we’ve seen that COVID-19 mitigation requirements have been adopted by a majority of the establishments to keep their staff, customers and communities safe,” says Jim Kelly, deputy director of environmental health for the Allegheny County Health Department.

“The Health Department wants to make sure that restaurants have the resources they need to open and operate as safely as possible, and we’re happy to partner to provide educational materials.”

The Health Department will provide updated guidelines and tips that can be found on the Safe Service Allegheny website. A member toolkit is in the works to provide guidance on everything from staff training materials to communicating guidelines to guests and patrons.

“We are appreciative of this effort in Allegheny County which reflects the work being done by responsible food and beverage facilities in our community,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “I’m hopeful that this effort will serve as a springboard for other businesses and organizations to work together to show how their industry can work differently and safely during this pandemic.”

There is no cost to be a member of Safe Service Allegheny. Business owners in the food and beverage, hospitality and event industries can visit the website and digitally sign the member promise. New members will be contacted by a Safe Service Allegheny administrator to complete the membership process.

Safe Service Allegheny is prepared to collaborate with other counties in Pennsylvania and can be reached via email at info@safeservicepgh.com.