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Boscola Bulletin

Lehigh Valley Moving to Yellow

Due to COVID-19, the Lehigh Valley has been under stay-at-home orders since March 25, 2020. Governor Wolf sets much of the policy for the Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 Crisis.  I am proud to remind everyone that the Governor announced on May 29 that the Lehigh Valley will take a step forward and move to yellow effective 12:01 a.m., June 5, including Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

We all need recognize, however, that opening in the yellow phase does not mean a return to business as usual. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I can not emphasize enough the need to continue to social distance, wear masks and validate that when we open more businesses there is not a surge in cases. There are better treatment protocols, better supplies, a better understanding of precautions we need to take and just a better understanding of the virus.

To view the entire list of guidance provided from the Governor’s office, you may visit: https://www.governor.pa.gov/process-to-reopen-pennsylvania/

Yellow Phase – Outdoor Dining

Beginning June 5, restaurants and retail foodservice businesses located in counties designated as being in the yellow phase are permitted 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 foodservice 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.
  • All businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail foodservice industry authorized to conduct in-person activities in yellow phase counties pursuant to this guidance are prohibited from doing the following:
    • Using self-service food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, and condiments.
    • Condiments must be removed from tables and dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer.
    • Using reusable menus, other than digital menus sanitized after each use.
    • Refilling food and beverage containers or implements brought in by customers.

It is important to note that the guidance states it is not bypassing your local government and, possibly the PLCB. We are going to get clarification from the PLCB if any approval from them will be required and update this post accordingly. Regardless, you will still be required to get the required local permitting to permit outdoor seating and dining, such as a sidewalk permit or other outdoor service permit if the municipality requires it and you do not already have it.

Applicable Rules for Yellow (and Green) County Service

  • All businesses resuming in-person service, whether outdoor service in yellow phase counties or dine-in service in green phase counties, must adhere to, among other requirements included in the guidance linked below, the following requirements:
  • Customers must wear masks at all times, except while seated at a table, unless the customer is medically unable – which they will not be required to prove.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables, (i.e., the six feet cannot include the space taken up by the seated guest). If tables or other seating are not movable, seat parties at least six feet apart.
  • Spacing must also allow for physical distancing from areas outside of the facility’s control (i.e., such that pedestrians on a sidewalk can pass with at least six feet of distance to a customer).
  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and strictly enforced. Maximum occupancy is calculated using the following two methods. The more restrictive number must be used.
    • Method 1: Limit to 50% of stated fire capacity or twelve people per 1,000 square feet if there is not a fire code number available. When no fire code number is available for outdoor dining, the twelve people per 1,000 square feet number should be applied.
    • Method 2: Arrange the restaurant or retail foodservice business so that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table in any direction and calculate the maximum number of customers that can be accommodated.
    • Utilize reservations for dining on-premises to maintain records of all appointments, including contact information for all customers.
  • Use staff-facilitated seating where appropriate. If seating is not staff facilitated and tables cannot be moved to meet the physical distancing requirements outlined above, tables that should not be used must be clearly marked as out of service.
  • Allow no more than ten people at a table unless they are a family from the same household.
  • Use single-use disposable menus (e.g., paper) and discard after each customer or utilize a written posting such as a chalkboard or whiteboard to relay menu information.
  • Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, at point of sale terminals, cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining a physical distance of six feet is difficult.

The full guidance can be found at https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200527-Restaurant-Industry-Guidance.pdf.

Senate Democratic Policy Hearing This Week – Thursday, June 4, 2020

I am proud to announce, at the request of state Senators Art Haywood (Philadelphia/Montgomery), Anthony Williams (Philadelphia/Delaware, Vince Hughes (Philadelphia), and Shariff Street (Philadelphia), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a virtual public hearing next week to discuss the devastating and disparate impact the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has had on the African-American community.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 4 at 10 a.m.  It will be livestreamed at SenatorBoscola.com/Policy.

Senate Democratic Policy Hearing This Week – Thursday, June 4, 2020

 

 

 

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

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