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Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, January 18 – January 24

01/26/2021

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Agriculture today released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from January 18 – 24, 2021. The information is specific to COVID-19 mitigation requirements for restaurants, including social distancing, masking and occupancy limits.

These numbers include actions taken during routine food safety inspections and inspections prompted by consumer complaints.

From January 18 – 24, 2021, the department’s Bureau of Food Safety performed 600 inspections, 33 of which were complaint-driven. All 33 complaints were related to COVID-19 mitigation measures. The department received 236 food facility COVID-19 related complaints, five of which were referred to local and county health jurisdictions.

Inspectors closed three restaurants by order after each was confirmed to be violating the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Mitigation and Enforcement and Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Mitigation, Enforcement and Immunity Protections issued November 27, 2020 and refused to make corrections while the inspector was present.

A county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Data will be updated weekly with data from the previous week.

Consumers with general food safety complaints or concerns about non-compliance for COVID-19 mitigation can file a complaint online. COVID-19 mitigation restaurant enforcement actions will be released on a weekly basis.

On January 4, 2021, the temporary order prohibiting dine-in service expired. Restrictions in place prior to December 12, 2020 resumed, including the following measures in restaurants:

  • Self-certified restaurants may open at 50 percent capacity for indoor dining. Restaurants that have not self-certified are at 25 percent capacity for indoor dining,
  • On-premises alcohol consumption prohibited unless part of a meal; cocktails-to-go and carryout beverages are allowed, and
  • Serving alcohol for on-site consumption must end at 11:00 PM., and all alcoholic beverages must be removed from patrons by midnight.

The Bureau of Food Safety operates with an education-first model, and always works to educate and correct issues on-site before taking official action. Businesses will receive a closure order if they are confirmed to be operating in violation of COVID-19 mitigation orders and are unwilling to comply while the inspector is present. If the restaurant continues to operate in any manner following a closure order, the restaurant will be referred to the Department of Health for further legal action, including an action in Commonwealth Court to enjoin the continued operation of the restaurant in violation of the order.

The Wolf Administration offers opportunities for Pennsylvanians to explore restaurants that are operating safely and encourages Pennsylvanians to continue to support local eateries through the dining options now available to them.

If choosing to dine out, consumers can explore the online listing of Open & Certified restaurants and add to their sense of safety and confidence for in-person dining by using the COVID Inspection Dashboard for restaurants’ current status on both food and safety inspection reports.

Consumers can also support restaurants from the comfort of their homes by ordering take-out or delivery. Visit the CarryoutPA website, which offers a comprehensive list of restaurants offering takeout, curbside or delivery services.

For more information about the Department of Agriculture’s COVID-19 response, visit agriculture.pa.gov/covid.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.603.2056, shpowers@pa.gov

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