Sep. 09, 2020

HARRISBURG – While Gov. Tom Wolf imposes more seemingly random mandates on the state’s bar and restaurant industry, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) has introduced legislation to give these struggling business owners and their employees some vision and clear expectations to get through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The governor continues to treat every restaurant in our Commonwealth alike, imposing the same strict mandates on diners in rural communities like ours as he does on the trendy bars in Philadelphia,” Owlett said. “In no way does it make any sense to impose one-size-fits-all policies in a state with such varied COVID-19 statistics. In no way does it make sense to kill the restaurant industry across the state because of a few virus hot spots. It’s high time we take a different approach.”

Under Owlett’s House Bill 2860, the administration would have to follow the same case-rate guidance it used in directing educational formats for children’s return to school. In communities with no cases for two weeks, restaurants could fill 100% of their seating capacity. In low transmission counties, with fewer than 10 cases in the prior seven days and a percent positivity rate of less than 5%, restaurant capacity would be 75%. In moderate transmission counties, with 10-99 cases or a percent positivity rate of 5% to less than 10%, capacity would be set at 50%. Finally, in counties with substantial transmission of 100 or more cases and a percent positivity rate of more than 10%, restaurants would be limited to a 25% capacity rate.

“There is simply no vision for our food service industry right now, and that is putting an extreme amount of stress on so many small business owners and their employees,” Owlett said. “This plan would provide some much-needed certainty and predictability.”

House Bill 2860 was formally introduced on Tuesday and will be referred to a committee for further consideration.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler