The Chester County Commissioners just completed a two-day tour of restaurants in the county, to advise on preparedness for potential restaurant enforcement calls from state officials. Key to the visits was guidance on demonstrating readiness for 50% occupancy for indoor dining, and assurance that the County is focusing on steps to economic recovery through Restore Chester County.
The drop-in visits began Thursday when Commissioner Josh Maxwell visited restaurants in Downingtown and Commissioner Michelle Kichline called on restaurants in West Chester. On Friday, Commissioner Marian Moskowitz visited restaurants in Phoenixville, and the Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau’s Susan Hamley stepped into restaurants in Great Valley.
The goodwill tour provided a variety of free materials to restaurants that officials from the State Liquor Control Board and Department of Agriculture will be looking for as they conduct enforcement calls now and in the coming weeks.
“These state enforcement calls are unscheduled and can happen day or night, so we want to make sure we support our restaurants in having what they need to be in compliance and avoid penalties,” said Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz.
“We all want to be sure our restaurants can get to 50% indoor dining soon, so they can continue to recover economically and serve customers as the weather gets too cold for outdoor dining,” said Commissioner Josh Maxell. Right now Pennsylvania allows 50% outdoor occupancy and 25% indoor occupancy with restrictions.”
Among the items that the Commissioners provided were proper signage indicating the COVID manager on duty, rules for drinks-to-go, and “wear a mask to enter” regulations. They also provided information on what to do if a customer refuses to wear a mask, what reopening legislation is underway as well as how to be part of the Pennsylvania Restaurant Promise, which assures patrons that restaurants have committed to taking appropriate action to protect employees and customers. Assorted other materials were provided as well on sanitation, partitions and social distancing.
“We have found that restaurants tend to be missing three to five items, so we are providing those materials as well as in-person industry expertise,” said Commissioner Michelle Kichline.
The County Commissioners were accompanied by Ben Fileccia, Director of Operations and Strategy at the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, as well as Bob Rafetto, previous owner of the Dilworthtown Inn and an advocate for restaurants across Chester and Delaware Counties. Both answered questions from restaurant staff and provided contact information for follow-up questions and materials.
“Ben and Bob have been essential to supporting and preparing local restaurants for reopening during COVID-19,” said Hamley.
For more information on resources and requirements, restaurant owners are encouraged to visit the PRLA website at prla.org as well as RestoreChesterCounty.org, the county’s portal dedicated to helping more than 20 industries reopen.