Gov. Wolf Increasing Restaurant Indoor Occupancy To 50 Percent

John tends to the bar for patrons at the Continental Tavern.

There is good news for restaurants struggling with limited capacity due to restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wolf Administration announced Tuesday eateries may increase their indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting September 21.

Qualifying restaurants must still comply with all other public health safety guidelines. Masks, social distancing, and other safety measures are all still part of the equation.

To make sure these eateries are following orders, the Wolf Administration has set up a self-certification process. 

If a restaurant wants to qualify for this increased occupancy, they must complete the online self-certification process by October 5. The related documents will become available starting Sept. 21.

Governor Tom Wolf said the move is to “support the retail food services industry that has struggled throughout this pandemic.”

“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.”

A press release from the governor’s office states the related documents will include the following:

  • A list of requirements contained in the current restaurant industry guidance and enforcement efforts;
  • A statement that the owner has reviewed and agrees to follow these requirements;
  • The business’ maximum indoor occupancy number based on the fire code; and
  • A statement that the owner understands that the certification is subject to penalties for unsworn falsification to authorities.

Additionally, restaurants serving alcohol must stop selling alcohol by 10 p.m. starting September 21.

Establishments which have completed the self-certification process will appear in the Open & Certified Pennsylvania searchable online database of certified restaurants across the commonwealth. Customers can then use this database to make sure their restaurant of choice is following all guidelines.

“Through this self-certification process,” said Wolf, “our commonwealth’s restaurant industry will ensure the safety and well-being of both employees and patrons alike, and will be able to begin a return to normal operations and financial recovery.”

Restaurant owners with questions can email covidselfcert@pa.gov.