PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County officials announced Sunday that they will ban the on-site consumption of alcohol at bars and restaurants.
Restaurants and bars will remain open, but alcohol will be takeout only.
The order is effective beginning June 30 at 5 p.m., Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said.
“As the director of the Allegheny County Health Department, it is my duty to protect the health and safety of all Allegheny County residents and while we’ve taken significant steps to track and reduce the spread of this virus, we are still seeing significant increases,” said Bogen. “We’re taking these steps today to further protect the health and safety of all residents through my authority under the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law.”
Bogen is also recommending that those who have traveled out of state self-quarantine for 14 days, or have two negative coronavirus tests 48 hours apart.
Bogen said that many of the new cases being reported stemmed from travel, particularly those who participated in nightlife during travel, and visiting local bars.
“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 said. “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.”
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the county will enforce mask wearing while dining inside of restaurants until food comes to the table.
Officials are encouraging outdoor seating at restaurants.
Fitzgerald said that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is working on fast tracking permits for outdoor seating in city of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Officials are also keeping an eye on cases in connection with youth sports, Fitzgerald said.
On Sunday, 96 new COVID-19 cases were reported, which is the highest daily total of new confirmed cases the county has seen. On Saturday, there were 91 new cases.
The previous week was the highest number of positive coronavirus cases Allegheny County has seen.
“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 resident 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.”
Bogen said she is concerned that the increase in cases may eventually lead to an increase in hospitalizations.
Allegheny County, along with most of southwestern Pennsylvania, entered the “green phase” of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased reopening on June 5.