Pennsylvania restaurants will be allowed to seat more patrons inside as Governor Tom Wolf has announced relaxing capacity restrictions on indoor dining.

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Restaurants had been allowed to reopen at 50-percent capacity when regions slowly reopened under Pennsylvania’s red, yellow, green zone plan but were reigned in to 25-percent capacity after some parts of the state experienced increases in coronavirus infection rates.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Under this week's announcement by the Democrat, restaurants may increase indoor occupancy from 25-percent back to 50-percent of capacity starting September 21, more than two months after the administration first reimposed pandemic restrictions on the state's beleaguered hospitality industry.

Restaurants will need to self-certify in order to be listed on the “Open & Certified Pennsylvania" program website.  The program will be found online starting September 21 and include a list of requirements contained in the industry guidance and enforcement efforts, a statement the owner has agreed to follow the requirements, the business’ maximum indoor occupancy based on fire code and a statement that the owner understands the penalties for un-sworn falsification to authorities.

Restaurants that want to increase to 50-percent must complete the online self-certification process by October 5 and keep a copy of they will get by email.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced New York City restaurants will be able to serve customers inside again, but with a lot of requirements not seen elsewhere in the state.

Patrons outside of New York City have been able to enjoy meals inside with restaurants at 50-percent capacity.  Diners have to wear masks when not seated, tables are spaced six-feet apart and wait staff must also wear facial coverings at all times.

In New York City, the restaurant indoor customer capacity is capped at 25-percent beginning September. 30.

Restaurants must publicly post their indoor dining capacity and phone numbers to report violations.

New York State is providing phone and text numbers for diners to report restaurants violating the rules. Patrons who observe violations can report issues by calling 833-208-4160, or by texting 'VIOLATION' to 855-904-5036.

Guidance for Indoor Dining in New York City

  • 25 percent occupancy limit
  • Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
  • One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing if needed
  • No bar service - bars will only be used as service bars, a source of making drinks and serving them tableside
  • Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
  • Tables must be six feet apart
  • Restaurants close at midnight
  • Strict adherence to all State-issued guidance
  • Restaurants should operate with enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
  • Limit air recirculation and allow for outside air ventilation
  • Outdoor dining will continue in the interim