By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Citing falling case counts and climbing vaccination rates, Gov. Tom Wolf is loosening some restrictions on restaurants and other businesses as well as increasing gathering limits.READ MORE: 'Sounded Like A Freight Train': Washington County Residents Say Storm Lasted Just Minutes, But Cleanup Will Go On For Days
Starting April 4, restaurants can resume bar service and alcohol can be bought without food. There’s also no more curfew for removing drinks from tables.
The indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75% for restaurants that undergo the self-certification process. Outdoor dining, curbside pick-up and takeout are still encouraged, and there are still requirements like mask-wearing and social distancing.
“I’m just thrilled because it’s just such a positive step in the right direction for all businesses in Pennsylvania,” said Colin Serto, the owner of Sienna Mercato.
Capacity for other businesses like personal service facilities, gyms casinos, theaters and malls will also be raised to 75% occupancy on April 4.
📢 Effective April 4:
➡️ restaurants may resume bar service
➡️ alcohol service will be allowed w/o food purchase
➡️ curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables lifted
➡️ indoor dining capacity raised to 75% for restaurants that are self-certified pic.twitter.com/XCHDCVvy05
— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) March 15, 2021
“Along with every other restaurant, we definitely suffered. We saw less people coming. It was tough, but we got through it and we are just ready to move on and start having more people down here,” said Serto.
When it comes to gatherings, indoor events will be allowed 25% maximum occupancy and outdoor events will be allowed 50%. That’s an uptick from the 15% indoor and 25% outdoor that the governor just implemented at the start of the month.READ MORE: Free Dental Clinic Expects Large Turnout At David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Wolf’s announcement is welcomed news for wedding/event planner Caitlyn Wimer. Her company, JPC Event Group, did 60 weddings in 2020. They were supposed to do 150.
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Right now, they have 118 scheduled.
“That is very helpful,” said Wimer. “A lot of our couples are very excited about that. And a lot of people who have postponed have actually come back and asked if they could go through with their initial date, which is exciting.”
Business owner John Graf hopes his wedding venules will see a bigger boost soon.
“What we are hoping is to be ramped up to 50 percent of capacity as fast as we can,” Graf said. “And then look at the data and take it from there.”MORE NEWS: 5 Tornadoes Tear Through Western Pennsylvania
House Republicans in Harrisburg criticized the governor’s announcement, saying the help hasn’t come soon enough and it does not go far enough for workers and small businesses.