Capacity limits, alcohol curfew among COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf will be lifting some restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, as well as increased gathering limits.

Effective April 4, restaurants may resume bar service; alcohol service will be allowed without the purchase of food; the curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables will be lifted; and indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75 percent for those restaurants that are currently self-certified and those that undergo the self-certification process.

Those restaurants that do not self-certify may raise capacity to 50 percent. Outdoor dining, curbside pick-up and takeout are still encouraged. Requirements such as mask-wearing, and social distancing, including 6 feet between diners, also still apply.

Capacity for other businesses also will be increased, including gyms and casinos, theatres, malls and others to 75 percent occupancy.

The maximum occupancy limits for indoor events will increase to 25% regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size.

“Pennsylvanians have stepped up and done their part of help curb the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said in a news release. “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.”

While the lifting of these restrictions is good news, Gov. Wolf cautioned that mask-wearing, social distancing and business adherence to all safety orders are still imperative.

“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.”

But customers are ready to get back to business.

“I’ve been really excited to see things get back to normal. With COVID we can’t go to any of the places we want to,” Blake Duffy said.

Mike Sukitch, owner of Mike’s Beer Bar, said the changes are good news for business.

“Serving at the bar and putting up potential barriers I’ll be able to add about 10 seats so it gets me closer to that 50,” he said

But there are still hurdles he will have to face.

“Just now have to see what kinds of requirements would allow me practically speaking financially to put barriers closer together but invest in barriers that would allow them to be closer than six feet,” he said.