Due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, starting Tuesday at 5 p.m., the Allegheny County Health Dept. will restrict on-premises alcohol consumption at any business establishment in Allegheny County. Bars will be shut except for to-go cocktails and restaurants can serve to-go cocktails but customers cannot drink them on the premises. So customers can sit down in restaurants and be served a meal but not with cocktails.
And while masks are required in all businesses, the county has additionally ordered that masks in restaurants must be worn even when seated and may only be removed when eating or drinking. Violations reported will be investigated with businesses being ordered closed for a minimum of a week,” according to the press release on the Allegheny County website.
“For the first time since COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state, Allegheny County led the state in the number of new COVID-19 cases,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald earlier today. “We’re going the wrong direction. While most residents and businesses have been following the rules, these requirements and mitigation measures address the hot spots that have been identified during case investigations. These are severe steps, but we have to take steps now to limit the community spread that endangers those who are older, high-risk or otherwise immunocompromised.”
Restaurants will also be held to the physical distancing requirements, the limitation of 50% of stated fire code maximum occupancy and will be asked to prioritize outdoor seating. “As the director of the Allegheny County Health Department, it is my duty to protect the health and safety of all Allegheny County residents and while we’ve taken significant steps to track and reduce the spread of this virus, we are still seeing significant increases,” said Dr. Debra Bogen. “We’re taking these steps today to further protect the health and safety of all residents through my authority under the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law.”
The Health Department also announced that complaints regarding establishments which are violating the Health Department order may be sent to the department after 5 PM on June 30 through a webform, email (COVIDcomplaints@alleghenycounty.us) or by calling the Information Center at 412-350-INFO (412-350-4636).
Dr. Bogen also recommended a 14-day quarantine for those traveling out of state or to have two negative tests at least 48 hours apart for the quarantine to be lifted. Case investigators over the last week have heard many new cases that they have traveled out of state, often to hot spots in the country like Florida, Texas and the beaches along the Carolina coast.
A map of testing locations in Allegheny County is available here.
“Recommending quarantine and testing after travel will help reduce spread from those individuals and I am confident our county has the testing capacity to handle it,” Bogen continued. “Locations such as the Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rite Aid, CVS and MedExpress will offer testing to people who have traveled, even if they aren’t showing symptoms.”
Today’s report of 96 new cases brings the total for the week to 393. Yesterday the number of new cases was 90.