Gov. Wolf vetoes bill that would have allowed restaurants, other businesses to return to full capacity

Fall resurgence: Gov. Wolf to address Pennsylvania’s increase in COVID-19 cases Wednesday

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would have allowed restaurants and other businesses to return to full capacity despite the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, known as HB 2513, was passed in the State House of Representatives on Sept. 23. Under that bill, restaurants, bars, clubs and banquet halls could return to full capacity under each business' discretion.

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According to the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, these are the highlights of the now vetoed bill:

  • Allows restaurant operations and private events to be restored to a minimum of 50% capacity with continued social distancing and barriers in use.
  • Eliminates the requirement that meal must be purchased to get an alcoholic beverage.
  • Allows for bar seating, again, with social distancing/barriers.

In the governor’s veto, he said the bill would endanger public health and safety by allowing restaurants to open up to full capacity without regard for state and federal COVID-19 mitigation guidelines.

Wolf also said in his letter to state representatives that removing the meal requirement for alcohol consumption “increases the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks” in Pa.

Now that the governor has vetoed the bill, it goes back to state legislature where they would need a two-thirds majority to override it.

A coronavirus prediction model says US could see 395,000 deaths by Feb. 1