Wolf Administration Reminds Restaurants of Opportunity to Increase Indoor Capacity to 50 Percent

Harrisburg, PA — Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding reminded Pennsylvania restaurant owners that they may increase indoor capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent through a new self-certification process. Self-certification ensures that these businesses operate safely and instills customers and employees with confidence knowing they can dine and work safely but will not lead to additional inspections or penalties.

“Self-certifying your business allows restaurants to increase capacity, and it’s also an easy, commonsense way to communicate to customers that you care about their health and your business is committed to safety and well-being,” said Sec. Davin. “It will inspire consumer confidence, lead to increased patronage and sales, and—most importantly—it is simply the right thing to do.”

Restaurants can access the online self-certification form on PA.GOV/COVID. The recently announced self-certification process enables restaurants, private social clubs and food service businesses that serve dine-in, sit down food in a regular, non-event capacity to increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent while adhering to mitigation efforts that will keep employees and customers safe. Self-certification is required for restaurants to increase their indoor capacity to 50 percent.

Self-certifying will not lead to additional inspections. The occurrence of regularly scheduled or complaint-based inspections from enforcement agencies will not be affected by certification status. In fact, certifying proves that a business is committed to protecting employees and providing patrons a safe dining experience. Any health and safety violations from self-certified businesses will be handled first with warnings and education rather than fines or other penalties.

“This is an opportunity to tell your community that you care about their safety, you’re doing everything right,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “Self-certification does not mean more inspections or more scrutiny from us, it means more capacity for you and a sense of security for your patrons.”

Restaurants that self-certify will appear in an Open & Certified Pennsylvania searchable online database of certified restaurants across the commonwealth and will receive an Open & Certified Pennsylvania branded window cling designating their certification, which they can display for customers and employees. There is no cost to self-certification. The window clings will be mailed to a restaurant’s physical address at no cost.

Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons. Enforcement of the 50 percent indoor capacity will begin on October 5, so restaurants that choose to increase indoor capacity to 50 percent before October 5 must complete the online self-certification process by that date. However, the self-certification process will remain available after October 5 for restaurants that choose to self-certify in the future.

The Wolf Administration has released Frequently Asked Questions as a reference for restaurant owners and the public, along with updated restaurant guidance.

Business owners with additional questions about the self-certification program can contact covidselfcert@pa.gov.

Note: Video available at PACast.com.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Casey Smith, DCED, casesmith@pa.gov
Shannon Powers, Ag, shpowers@pa.gov

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