Pa. prepares to ease restrictions on restaurants and bars even though service employees may not be vaccinated yet

Written by on April 1, 2021

Pa. prepares to ease restrictions on restaurants and bars even though service employees may not be vaccinated yet

By Tyler Pratt

April 2, 2021

Photo | Haley O’Brien / WLVR

Pennsylvania is preparing to ease COVID restrictions this weekend. Bars and restaurants can serve alcohol without food, lift curfews and increase capacity. But the move comes as COVID cases are on the rise and service employees may not be vaccinated yet.

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Pennsylvania’s recent COVID  numbers are the highest they’ve been in months, averaging more than 4,000 new cases each day in the past week.

“Our case counts are not at a plateau anymore. We are seeing case counts rise which will naturally be followed likely by an increase in hospitalization and possibly even tragic deaths,” says Alison Beam, the state’s acting Secretary of Health. 

But on Easter, restaurants can be three-quarters full again. Food service workers will be eligible for the vaccine in mid-April.  If they can find an appointment, shots can take two to four weeks to become fully effective. 

Still Beam says, the reopening plan is only an “incremental increase.” 

“We are not all flinging the doors wide open. So there are still protections on how we’re going to conduct ourselves,” she says. 

Health guidelines say restaurants can only increase seating if they “self-certify” they are COVID compliant, meaning extra cleaning, and space between diners. 

Mask-wearing and social distancing by patrons are still required. 

April 2, 2021…  A previous version of this story said food service workers are currently eligible for COVID vaccine. Food services works are part of the 1c group in Pennsylvania, and are eligible to begin receiving vaccines on April 12th.

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