The Most Common Violation at Allegheny County Restaurants
Health Department inspectors say a vast majority of Pittsburgh-area eateries are fully complying with the rules to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Since July 23, 10 employees of the Allegheny County Health Department have inspected 1,774 bars and restaurants looking for violations of 19 safety rules aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. They found 214 establishments, just over 12-percent, had at least one violation. The majority of the violations involved employees either wearing masks improperly or not wearing them at all.
No employees were wearing masks at Riviera Pizza on Spring Garden Avenue, according to an inspection report from Aug. 20. An employee of Cerasoli Pizzeria on Brighton Road only put on a face mask when the inspector walked through, according to a report from Aug. 19. Employees at Il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebanon were not wearing masks, according to a report from Aug. 19. It’s the second time the Italian restaurant has been cited for mask violations.
Four local businesses have been closed by the health department for pandemic-related violations.
- Lefty’s Bar in the Strip District
- Crack’d Egg in Brentwood
- Young Men’s Republican Club of Allegheny County on the North Side
- Seven, a bar/lounge in the Downtown cultural district
There has been a steady decline in the number of cases traced to bar and restaurant employees and patrons. During the week of Aug. 9, the number had dropped to 27, down from 162 during the first full week of July.
Taking a closer look at other activities traced back to positive cases of COVID-19 and comparing those numbers to a week ago:
- Parties: 26 (up from 18)
- Weddings/funerals: 14 (up from 4)
- Played sports: 13 (unchanged)
- Grocery employees: 9 (up from 1)
- Gym/fitness center: 8 (unchanged)
- Retail store employees: 4 (down from 10)
- Religious services: 1 (down from 8)
- Salon/barber employees: 1 (down from 5)
With a sharp decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County recently, Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said at a news conference Wednesday that she is considering modifying the limit on outdoor gatherings that is currently set at 50. However, Bogen says she won’t be increasing the outdoor limit to match the state’s level of 250.
“I want to open things slowly and ease restrictions so we can watch how the virus responds,” Bogen said. “Any changes to limit of outdoor gatherings is not a signal that the threat from COVID-19 is any less. People can still catch the virus and spread it without knowing they have it. People, especially the elderly and vulnerable, still can get very sick and die.”
No matter the limit on outdoor gatherings, social distancing and mask-wearing will still be required. Also, there is no talk of changing the current limit of 25 for indoor gatherings. Bogen also does not anticipate any changes in the restrictions currently imposed on restaurants and bars.
What remains to be seen is the impact of thousands of college students returning to Pittsburgh-area campuses. Bogen says those case counts won’t be known for another three weeks.