COVID-19: PA announces April time frame for additional restaurant and hospitality indoor and outdoor rules relaxation

Earlier today, Monday, March 15th, PA Gov. Wolf relaxed certain Covid-19 restrictions, including making substantial modification to some of the more  restrictive guidelines that apply to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Effective April 4th at midnight, “self-certified” restaurants, gyms, casinos, malls and theatres in PA will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Non-self-certified restaurants are required to remain at 50% capacity. The self-certification process involves agreeing to strictly comply to all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements issued by the CDC and the PA Department of Health.

The previous guideline that required restaurants and bars to have “last call” at 11 p.m. has also been eliminated. Additionally, bar seating will now be permitted so long as barriers exist between guests. Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, the changes also lift requirements that patrons order food with alcohol, i.e., merely drinking will be permitted on a go forward basis as of April 4.

The governor also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, also regardless of venue size.

The City of Philadelphia is currently allowing a 50% indoor capacity maximum if the applicable restaurant is approved under a certification process. Philadelphia which has set its own stricter rules has advised that it will review its rules in light of the new Commonwealth guidance.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.



COVID-19: NJ announces reopening of Gyms and Indoor Amusement Facilities – 9-1-20

As of today, August 26, 2020, Governor Murphy announced the reopening of gyms and indoor amusement facilities effective as of September 1, 2020. Reopening will include a 25% of capacity limitation and typical safety protocols including masks, social distancing, one way traffic, etc.

Per a press release from Planet Fitness as reported in NJ Patch, “Fitness centers are critical to the mental, physical and financial health for New Jerseyans, and we are grateful that Governor Murphy has announced that we can reopen with safety protocols in place,” said Craig Benson, who operates 18 Planet Fitness locations in the state. “Throughout the reopening process, we will continue to collaborate with local, county and state health officials to ensure that our members can work out again in a safe, clean, and welcoming environment, and our staff can get back to work.”

With respect to gyms:

  • group fitness classes are to be limited to 1 person per 200 SF of space;
  • logs are to be maintained for members and staff;
  • 6′ of distance between pieces of equipment;
  • required sanitization of equipment; and
  • showers are NOT permitted to be open

Many gyms and eating establishments will look to include some or all of the following in their safety protocols:

◦Limited capacity to comply with social distancing;

◦Advanced air filtration systems with high-grade filters;

◦Masks required at all times;

◦Well-stocked cleaning stations with hand sanitizer;

◦Posters explaining best-health practices displayed throughout the facility or gym; 

◦High-tech electrostatic disinfecting sprayers for the tables and gyms as well as equipment;

◦One-way flow for foot traffic;

◦Temperature checks for staff members at the start of each shift in addition to health questionnaire;

◦Touchless check-in;

◦Cleaning of tables and/or machines before and after each use; and

◦ Having an ample supply of PPE equipment for staff and members including masks and gloves.

Indoor dining and movie theatres are expected to be reopened on or before September 14th.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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