Allegheny County Bans On-Premises Alcohol Consumption at Bars and Restaurants

A record-breaking spike in new cases of COVID-19 prompted the county to impose the new restrictions.

Acacia Bar Feb20

Allegheny County may be in the green phase of reopening, but you will no longer be able to consume alcohol in bars and restaurants. Customers will still be able to purchase alcoholic drinks to go. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen announced the new restrictions following a spike in new cases of COVID-19. Sunday, the county reported 96 new cases, its largest single-day coronavirus case jump since the virus was first reported here in March.

The new restrictions are effective immediately and enforcement will begin at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The county also ordered that masks in restaurants must be worn even when seated and may only be removed when eating or drinking. Restaurants must also adhere to physical distancing requirements, the limitation of 50% of stated fire code maximum occupancy and will be asked to prioritize outdoor seating.

Not only are the number of cases increasing, but so is the percent positive among those tested. From a low of 1-2% just two weeks ago, the percent positive has now increased to 6% for the past couple of days, according to the county health department.

Dr. Bogen is also recommending a 14-day quarantine for those traveling out of state or to have two negative tests at least 48 hours apart for the quarantine to be lifted.  Bogen says many of the new cases have come from people returning from hots spots such as Florida, Texas and the Carolina coast.

“Recommending quarantine and testing after travel will help reduce spread from those individuals and I am confident our county has the testing capacity to handle it,” Bogen continued. “Locations such as the Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rite Aid, CVS and MedExpress will offer testing to people who have traveled, even if they aren’t showing symptoms.”

A map of testing locations in Allegheny County is available here.

“For the first time since COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state, Allegheny County led the state in the number of new COVID-19 cases,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re going the wrong direction. While most residents and businesses have been following the rules, these requirements and mitigation measures address the hot spots that have been identified during case investigations. These are severe steps, but we have to take steps now to limit the community spread that endangers those who are older, high-risk, or otherwise immunocompromised.”

Categories: The 412