What you need to know about Pennsylvania Reopening

As the dust settles and states begin to look forward to reopening it’s time to think about what types of measures your bar, restaurant, or other types of establishments in Pennsylvania should undertake.

Before reopening you should address concerns regarding sanitation and safety, employee education, liability, distancing, and continue to offer pick up and delivery.

Restaurants and Bars were allowed to reopen starting May 29th. But only those counties which are in the “yellow phase” of recovery. With more counties slated to open on June 5th. Unfortunately, Philadelphia is still in the “red phase,” and most activities are limited.

cleaning at a bar or restaurant

Sanitation and safety

Governor Tom Wolf has provided guidance for bars and restaurants to reopen. To protect employees the Governor has requested compliance to a Building and Safety Order, which states businesses should:

  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas
  • Establish a plan for employees who have or possibly could be exposed to COVID-19
  • Prevent large groups from entering or leaving at once
  • Limit the number of employees in common areas
  • Conduct meetings or training virtually (see the next section for suggestions)
  • Give employees constant access to soap, water, and disinfectant
  • Provide non-medical masks that must be worn at all times
  • Support these efforts with an adequate number of employees
  • Discourage non-essential visitors
  • Communicate procedures with employees

Employee education

Not only is it important to make sure all of your employees are up to date on safe Pennsylvania Alcohol Seller and Server training, it’s also important to make sure all employees are able to successfully identify if an employee or patron is showing signs of COVID-19 (World Health Organization COVID-19 Symptoms list).

In addition, you should update business policies that dictate when and for how long an employee should be out from work. The CDC currently recommends self-quarantining for 14 days someone who is symptomatic and who subsequently tests positive.


Before opening be sure to post a clear and concise liability waiver. This statement should be available for patrons and servers to read on the door or in seating areas.

This waiver should also communicate how you would like your customers to conduct themselves, how the staff has been trained and enhanced cleaning procedures.


In order to maintain the recommended six feet of separation, it’s recommended that you redesign the dining room areas to seat customers farther apart.

You may want to consider canceling or postponing events that typically bring in crowds like fundraising, bands, and banquets.

It is also recommended that you temporarily discontinue self-service food and drink areas.

Pick Up/Delivery

Many will be eager to rejoin their daily social activities like getting a bite to eat or drinking at the local pub.

There will be regular patrons who would prefer to remain distanced from the general population, so it may still be lucrative to maintain pick up and delivery options that were put into place.

If this option was previously not in place, it may be a good time for management to reconsider.

Additional resources related to COVID in your state include:

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Governor Tom Wolf

How to Prevent Getting Sick (CDC)

Testing for COVID-19 (CDC)


2 Responses

  1. Joe
    Thanks for posting the articles about reopening my bar. I found it really helpful.
  2. Mike
    Ton’s of really good information thank you!!