Pa. restaurants could face fines, suspensions if they offer dine-in services before getting “green light”

Coronavirus

Food safety inspectors will be following up on reports of restaurants violating the order

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Kenny Williamson/Moment/GettyImages

HARRISBURG (WYTV) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture outlined steps that will be taken if restaurants in the state offer dine-in services to customers before getting the “green light” to do so.

“It’s important that Pennsylvania’s restaurants don’t stray from the course now, we’ve come too far, sacrificed too much to change our path,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Restaurants are encouraged to continue only offering their services for carry-out or delivery. I, along with all of Pennsylvania, am grateful for your dedication to maintaining these life-saving measures.”

Under Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania amid the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants in “yellow” and “red” counties can only offer take-out and delivery options.

Food safety inspectors will be following up on reports of restaurants violating the order. If the reports are confirmed, the following actions will be taken:

  • Warning letter from the Departments of Agriculture and Health;
  • Follow-up inspection;
  • If still in violation of the order at follow-up inspection, adjudication to suspend the businesses retail food license;
  • If the business continues to operate after license is revoked, citations will be filed with the magisterial district judge;
  • The department may pursue civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day of violation.

The Department of Agriculture will be working with the Department of Health, Pennsylvania State Police and the state’s Liquor Control Board to report and follow up on these violations.

“We know that people dining together in a restaurant puts many people at risk of exposure, including patrons and employees,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is essential that restaurants comply with guidance and continue with carry-out and delivery options at this time. Social distancing is a primary tool to fight this virus, and we must stay the course.”

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