No enforcement taken against Mercer, Lawrence county restaurants during COVID-19 compliance checks

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The Department of Agriculture released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from August 10 through August 16


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(WKBN) – No action has been taken against any local restaurants in Pennsylvania in regard to alleged COVID-19 violations, according to information released Tuesday by the Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture released data related to COVID-19 restaurant enforcement actions from August 10 through August 16. The information is specific to COVID-19 mitigation requirements for restaurants including social distancing, masking and occupancy limits.

During that time period, the Bureau of Food Safety performed 637 total inspections, 31 of which were complaint-driven. Nine were COVID-19 specific complaints.

The bureau distributed 105 COVID-19 complaint-driven educational letters. Four COVID-19 related complaints were referred to local and county health jurisdictions.

There were two inspections in Mercer County and six in Lawrence County, though they weren’t driven by complaints. No enforcement actions were taken.

The previous week, the agency received one complaint on a Lawrence County business, though no actions were taken.

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.

The list did not specify the businesses that were checked.

Among other requirements, all businesses in the restaurant and retail food service industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are mandated to:

  • 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.

According to the Bureau of Food Safety, it tries to educate business owners first 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.

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

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