Snyder: Restaurants will soon be allowed to increase to 50% occupancy

CARMICHAELS, Sept. 8 – State Rep. Pam Snyder has announced restaurants will be allowed to increase their indoor occupancy to 50% capacity effective Sept. 21, provided they take part in a self-certification process to ensure they will comply with all public health and safety guidelines.

“I’ve been advocating for my local restaurants for months and demanding the governor allow these establishments to reopen to at least 50% capacity,” said Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington. “While I agree we must all do our part to keep the virus from spreading, these businesses have been doing the right thing all along to keep their staff and customers safe. I applaud today’s decision because it will certainly help these businesses who have been taking a significant financial hit, and I will continue to push to allow our restaurants to fully reopen, because I know they can do so safely.”

Last month, Snyder sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, asking him to take immediate steps to help restaurants, including a return to the original 50% capacity restriction.

The self-certification process, called the Open and Certified Pennsylvania program, is required for any restaurant that wants to increase indoor capacity to 50%. This self-certification must be completed by Oct. 5, Snyder said.

Documents and information regarding the self-certification will be available online beginning Sept. 21 and will contain the following items:

  • A list of requirements contained in the state’s current restaurant industry guidance and enforcement efforts. 
  • A statement that the owner has reviewed and agrees to follow these requirements.  
  • The business' maximum indoor occupancy number based on the fire code.
  • A statement that the owner understands that the certification is subject to penalties for unsworn falsification to authorities.   

Snyder added business owners should keep a copy of the self-certification confirmation they will receive by e-mail. Beginning on Sept. 21, restaurants that offer alcohol sales will be required to close those sales at 10 p.m.

Once the self-certification is completed, restaurants will be mailed branded materials, such as window clings and other signage they can use for public display. Restaurants that self-certify will also be included on a searchable database.

Restaurant owners who have questions regarding the self-certification program can contact covidselfcert@pa.gov.