How Pennsylvania restaurants can self-certify and go to 50% capacity

How Pennsylvania restaurants can self-certify and go to 50% capacity

The Wolf Administration on Tuesday released additional guidance on its plan to allow restaurants across the state to operate at 50% capacity starting Sept. 21.

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As part of the plan, restaurants are asked to “self certify” they are following coronavirus safety measures. Those restaurants must complete the online self-certification process by Oct. 5.

Restaurant-goers, Wolf said, will be able search an online database of businesses that have certified themselves and make better-informed choices about where to eat.

The governor said social distancing, mask-wearing and other mitigation measures will be required to protect workers and patrons.

Here are some key questions and answers provided state on how the process will work:

Q: Is my restaurant required to be certified? Will my restaurant face any penalties if it is not certified?

A: No. Restaurants may choose to not self-certify with no additional penalties. However, uncertified restaurants must remain at 25% indoor capacity and are not permitted to increase indoor capacity to 50%. Whether self-certifying, or choosing to remain at 25% capacity, all restaurants and bars must still abide by all applicable orders and guidance issued by Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine.

Q: What are the benefits of self-certifying my restaurant?

A: Self-certifying your restaurant tells consumers that Pennsylvania is open for business, and is unified in its safety measures, allowing consumers to dine at certified restaurants with confidence. …. Certified businesses will appear in an online database that is searchable by consumers. When consumers see that your business is certified, they will know that your business is looking out for their health and well-being, thus giving them additional confidence to patronize your restaurant. Certified restaurants will also receive a physical mailing of branded physical materials, such as window clings and other signage, to display proudly to their employees and customers. Finally, restaurants that self-certify are pledging that they adhere to health and safety requirements and are thus permitted to increase their indoor capacity from 25% of maximum occupancy to 50% of maximum occupancy.

Q: Is there a cost to self-certification?

A: No. There is no cost to self-certification. The physical materials, such as window clings and other signage, will be mailed to your restaurant’s physical address at no cost.

Q: How do I self-certify my restaurant?

A: Restaurant owners or their official business representatives can certify their restaurant online (link available on Sept. 21). To certify your restaurant, you must read through the health and safety requirements, input your contact information, and click SUBMIT. You will then receive an email with a link to validate your email address and complete the self-certification process. Upon validating your email, the self-certification process will be complete, and your restaurant will be added to the searchable public database of certified restaurants by the next business day. Physical materials, such as window clings and other signage, will be mailed to the address listed on your self-certification within a few weeks.

For a full FAQ on the self-certification process from the state, visit https://dced.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Open-Certfied-Pennsylvania-FAQs.pdf.

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