Starting Sept. 21, Pennsylvania restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent.
To do so, eateries must shut down their alcohol sales by 10 p.m., and commit to the Open & Certified Pennsylvania program, a self-certification process requiring that they abide by all public health and safety guidelines.
Restaurants that self-certify by Oct. 5 will appear in a searchable online database of qualifying restaurants across Pennsylvania.
“The self-certification ensures that restaurants can expand indoor operations and commit to all appropriate orders so that employees and customers alike can be confident they are properly protected,” says Gov. Tom Wolf.
Those with questions about the new program can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public will be able to access the database and find certified businesses in their area, ensuring that consumers can make more informed choices about the food establishments they are looking to patronize. Participating restaurants will be mailed Open & Certified Pennsylvania-branded materials, such as window clings, to display at their establishments.
Restaurants in Allegheny County have been operating at 25 percent capacity since July.
Safe Service Allegheny, a separate initiative launched by local food and beverage businesses in partnership with the county and Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, is helping to ensure the health and safety of workers and patrons. Businesses and customers can join for free by signing an online form pledging to follow federal, state and local health and safety guidelines.
Additionally, eateries are taking an extra step, promising to heighten and monitor their sanitizing protocols and administer health checks for staff before the beginning of each employee’s shift.
The Allegheny County Health Department is providing support and resources to members through its COVID Field Response Team which monitors and tracks compliance. It also provides ongoing education for food and beverage businesses.