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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 14, 2020 02:32 PM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano and Sen. Gene Yaw, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, Sen. Joe Pittman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Gradual Re-Opening of Restaurants and Food & Beverage Establishments.
In the near future, we intend to introduce the following legislation and we invite you to join us as a co-sponsor: 

Gradual Re-Opening of Restaurants and Food & Beverage Establishments.

Our legislation will require the Secretary of the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) to issue a waiver to the Governor’s COVID-19 Business Closure Order to all Pennsylvania restaurants – including establishments that specialize singularly in food or beverage – as long as Centers for Disease Control and federally recognized mitigation measures are followed.

There is no reason that the restaurant industry cannot safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large supermarkets, deemed by the Governor to be “life-sustaining,” have safely implemented social-distancing practices. Our locally-owned restaurants can do this too.

As part of this legislation, restaurants and food & beverage establishments will be permitted to reopen, by following social distancing practices, Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and federal Labor Department protocols, among other safety measures.

The reopening plan will follow a methodical blueprint: upon enactment, restaurants may reopen at a 25 percent seating capacity for two weeks; 50 percent capacity up to four weeks; 75 percent capacity up to six weeks; and then a full seating capacity.

Unrelated patrons and parties must be situated six feet apart, per social distancing protocols.

Food and beverage businesses have waited long enough for the administration to unveil a plan allowing them to reopen.

Unfortunately, we have already seen many small businesses close during the pandemic.

This legislation will allow restaurants to begin the process of recovering from the financial setbacks associated with the Emergency Declaration, and begin the process of returning to normalcy.

We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1191