Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Tom Wolf via Flickr.

Governor Tom Wolf cited falling Covid cases and rising vaccination rates throughout Pennsylvania as reasons for why he will be relaxing some restrictions on restaurants and gatherings starting April 4.

On that date, indoor dining will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity, raised from 50%, for all restaurants that are currently self-certified, which means they’ve agreed to adhere to public health safety guidelines and cleaning protocols. Restaurants that do not self-certify will be allowed to raise capacity to 50% (previously at 25%).

Rules regarding wearing masks and maintaining social distancing — six feet between diners — will still apply to all restaurants. Takeout, outdoor dining and curbside pickup are still encouraged.

Restaurants may also resume bar service and serving alcohol will be allowed without the purchase of food.

Gym and entertainment facilities, including casinos, theaters and malls, may also increase capacity to 75% from 50%.

Indoor occupancy for events will be 25% of maximum capacity, regardless of venue size, increased from 15%. Outdoor events may rise to 50% capacity, regardless of venue size (increased from 20%). Attendees and workers are allowed at events only if they comply with the requirement for six feet of physical distancing.

“Pennsylvanians have stepped up and done their part to help curb the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement. “Our case counts continue to go down, hospitalizations are declining and the percent positivity rate gets lower every week — all very positive signs. The number of people getting vaccinated increases daily and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It’s time to allow our restaurants, bars and other service businesses to get back to more normal operations.”

Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing are still incredibly important, Gov. Wolf cautioned.

“We’ve come so far, and now is not the time to stop the safety measures we have in place to protect ourselves, our families and our communities,” Gov. Wolf said. “Keep wearing a mask, social distancing, and, please, get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.