HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania is easing some restrictions on restaurants and businesses as COVID-19 cases decline and vaccination rates increase. Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that beginning April 4, restaurants may resume bar service, alcohol service will be allowed without the purchase of food, and the curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables will be lifted.Philadelphia Police: 25-Year-Old Man Fatally Struck By Vehicle That Ran Red Light In East Falls
Indoor dining capacity will also be raised to 75% for restaurants that are currently self-certified and those that undergo the self-certification process.
Those restaurants that do not self-certify may raise capacity to 50%.
“Things are getting better and better, there are more and more vaccines coming and as that happens we can do things now that we couldn’t back on Jan. 15,” Wolf said.
Gov. Wolf was in Reading Monday touring a vaccination site for teachers. He didn’t comment specifically on the easing of restrictions but they’re coming because the state is getting a better flow of vaccine.
“Pennsylvanians have stepped up and done their part to help curb the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “Our case counts continue to go down, hospitalizations are declining, and the percent positivity rate gets lower every week – all very positive signs. The number of people getting vaccinated increases daily and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It’s time to allow our restaurants, bars and other service businesses to get back to more normal operations.”
Outdoor dining, curbside pick-up and takeout are still encouraged.
Requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing, including 6 feet between diners, will still apply.
As capacity restrictions loosen, the service industry is welcoming the long-awaited change.READ MORE: WATCH: Country Music Star Jimmie Allen Apologizes To Eagles Fans For Fishing With Cowboys' Dak Prescott
“We’re a family-owned operation. We’ve been here for 20 years,” said D. Vinciguerra, general manager of Fellini Cafe of Media.
It’s not business as usual, but soon restaurants, gyms, casinos, theaters and malls will be able to operate at 75% capacity, starting April 4.
“I’m actually surprised, pleasantly surprised, that it has come this early. I would have imagined it to come possibly in the beginning of the fall,” Vinciguerra said.
Thankfully, Fellini Cafe was able to stay afloat for the last year as it maneuvered through the pandemic. But many restaurants closed their doors.
“Where we were restricted from not having indoor dining, we more than compensated with takeout alone. So we are super grateful for being an exception,” Vinciguerra said.
We stopped by Sligo Irish Pub in Media, where bar-goers were also thankful for the governor’s change.
“As long as people maintain like their safeness and respect the protocols, I’m completely for it,” customer Daniel Fortier said. “They’re not getting a fixed income monthly, biweekly — whatever you want to call it — so a night off for them could be $150 to $200 to their livelihood.”
The governor also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
But Philadelphia has separate restrictions. A spokesperson for the health department says the state changes are being reviewed to “determine what makes sense for Philadelphia based on our local conditions. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, Philadelphia is able to remain more restrictive than the state when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation guidance.”MORE NEWS: Family, Friends Celebrate World War II Veteran's Birthday In Burlington County
CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.