Outdoor dining at The Porch, pre-pandemic

Outdoor dining is a go in Allegheny County starting June 5.

Governor Wolf made the announcement on Wednesday. Restaurants and retail food service businesses located in yellow phase counties are allowed 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.

The news comes as a relief to many restaurant owners who are eager to get their businesses going, even in a small way.

“Outdoor dining always invites vibrancy,” says Jen Saffron, owner of Sprezzatura in Millvale. “I’m planning on developing an outdoor dining program but not by June 5th. We all need to be mindful of hospitable strategies to invite, serve and manage guests and employees,” she adds. “People can’t let their guards down. We want to enjoy our lives but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.