HARRISBURG, Pa. | Outdoor dining could return to the Lehigh Valley late next week as 10 more counties are expected to move into the next stage of the state's phased re-opening of businesses.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that 10 counties are expected to move to the yellow phase on June 5. The move would allow for outdoor seating provided restaurants adhere to strict guidelines, including maximum occupancy limits.
The 10 counties that currently remain in the red phase and expect to move to yellow next week include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery and Philadelphia.
As part of the state's phased re-opening, restaurants in the yellow phase must still close indoor areas except for through traffic, according to a news release from the state. Customers being served must be seated at a table and self-service drink stations and buffets and salad bars will still be prohibited.
Reusable menus will also be prohibited as are condiments on tables. Condiments must only be provided by employees upon request. Restaurants will also be prohibited from re-filling drinks.
Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill counties are expected to move into the yellow phase on Friday.
The administration released guidelines for restaurant re-openings.
The state has announced that 18 counties will move into the green phase on Friday with stay-at-home orders suspended. Those counties include Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren. Indoor dining will be allowed in green counties provided they follow distancing and occupancy guidelines.
The administration also announced Wednesday that professional sports teams are allowed to practice or play in the yellow and green re-opening phases without fans provided the team or its league has developed a COVID-19 safety plan. Safety plans must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include provisions for screening and monitoring all players.