Governor Vetoes Bill Loosening Restrictions at Restaurants and Bars

As expected, Governor Wolf vetoed legislation which would have loosened restrictions for restaurants and bars in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 2513 would have:

  • Allowed restaurants to operate at a minimum 50% capacity with social distancing.
  • Eliminated the requirement to buy a meal to get a drink.
  • Allowed for bar seating with social distancing.

In his veto message, the Governor wrote:

“This bill jeopardizes public health and safety as it permits restaurants, bars, clubs and banquet halls to operate up to 100% capacity without having to follow any mitigation guidelines of the CDC or the Commonwealth.  These guidelines were established to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 because of the severity of the pandemic. These guidelines not only protect customers, they also protect employees and the community.”

“By eliminating these critical protections, in addition to removing certain limits related to bar service and purchasing of alcoholic beverages, this bill increases the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., October 16, that there were 1,566 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 179,086. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.