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State visited 734 restaurants during latest round of COVID-19 compliance checks

Inspectors issued 152 educational letters, 3 formal warnings, and referred 30 cases to local and county health officials, the state says.
Credit: FOX43

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on Tuesday released its latest data on COVID-19 enforcement actions at Pennsylvania restaurants from August 17 through August 23. 

Inspectors visited 734 restaurants across the state. Of that total, 51 inspections were complaint-driven, and 20 were complaints specific to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the department's Bureau of Food Safety said.

The bureau distributed 152 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters, referred 30 COVID-19 related complaints to local and county health officials, and issued three formal warning letters, the department said.

A county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. The data will be updated weekly, with data from the previous week.

Among other requirements, Pennsylvania restaurants and food retail businesses must:

  • Require all customers to wear a mask while entering, exiting, or otherwise traveling through the restaurant or retail food service business (mask may be removed while seated).
  • Require employees to wear masks at all times.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back.
  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced.

The Bureau of Food Safety said has always operated with an education-first model, and always works to educate and correct on-site before taking official action. Businesses unwilling to correct on-site will first receive a warning letter, followed by monetary citations ranging from $25 to $300 per offense. 

Following an initial warning, food safety inspectors will follow up with unannounced inspections to ensure compliance or issue citations as necessary, the bureau said.

Consumers with general food safety complaints or concerns about non-compliance for COVID-19 mitigation can file a report online.