HARRISBURG (KDKA) - Gov. Tom Wolf says restaurants in the "yellow" phase can now allow customers to dine-in outside.
Beginning June 5 -- which is also when all "red" counties will move to yellow -- restaurants and retail food service businesses in "yellow" counties are allowed to add dine-in service in outdoor seating areas. Before this, restaurants in the yellow phase were limited to carryout and takeout.
Those dining areas will have to follow requirements, like occupancy. Indoor areas must be closed to customers except for through traffic, and customers being served must be seated.
Also not allowed are self-service food options like buffets, condiments on tables, reusable menus and refilling food and drink containers.
"This is a matter of what is it going to take to make patrons, customers feel confident that they can come back to eat in a restaurant," Gov. Wolf said.
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In the "green" phase, indoor dining will be open with safety guidance in place. For example, bar seating can be used if there's 6 feet or physical barriers in between customers and only four people "that have a common relationship" are allowed to sit together at the bar.
"So we can start serving some beers and some sandwiches so people can get outside and enjoy themselves," said Mike Mitcham, the operations director for Primanti Brothers.
The Wolf administration's new guidance also allows gatherings of 250 people or less in the green phase.
Restaurants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with establishments that have been around for decades like Alexander's in Bloomfield unable to survive.
"I'm hoping that Allegheny goes green by June 5. But if they don't, we have a bunch of restaurants that have lovely patios that we'll be excited to fill up," said Bill Fuller, the president of big Burrito Restaurant Group.
More dining guidance for restaurants can be found here.
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