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Bucks County health inspectors to closely monitor bar compliance in green phase

Bucks County health officials on Monday warned that repeated failure to follow social distancing restrictions could get a bar or restaurant shut down. The county will enter the least-restrictive “green” phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan on Friday.

Done properly, the re-opening of indoor dining at restaurants and bars this week will be a welcome social outlet for cooped-up residents, said Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department. But, he added, it can also be “one of the highest-risk activities allowed when we are in green if people aren’t careful.”

Damsker’s inspectors will be focusing extra attention on bars and bar areas in restaurants in coming weeks to ensure and enforce compliance.

“We know there are current outbreaks happening in other states from these activities, as there were here in Bucks County before the restrictions were put in place,” Damsker said.

Standing in a bar area will not be permitted, and no more than four customers who have a common relationship may sit together at a bar. Such groups will have to be physically distanced from other groups, and more than four people seated at a table will not be allowed.  Customers who are standing should not be served.

Wait staff, hosts and other staff must wear either masks or face shields.  Gloves or frequent hand washing by staff will be required, as will frequent cleaning of high-touch areas.

Any bar or restaurant found to be operating unsafely will be warned initially and given guidance, Damsker said. But establishments that repeatedly violate covid-19 safety guidelines could face suspension of their liquor licenses.

“As always, we want to work with the facilities,” he said. “We want to make sure we go out there and educate to ensure they are fully aware.  At the same time, we are not going to put up with repeated violations for something that could cause a spike in cases throughout the county.”

As the move to green approaches, Bucks County’s number of new infections continued to remain low over the past three days, averaging about 14 active cases per day since Saturday.

Ten new infections were reported Saturday, along with three delayed reports that no longer are infectious. Daily reporting was not done on Sunday. The two-day combined total for Sunday and Monday showed 31 new cases and two delayed reports no longer considered infectious.

No deaths resulting from covid-19 were reported over the three-day span.

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  • Pennsylvania’s cases have begun to rise again in the last week, driven mostly by counties that reached “green phase” a few weeks ago. Numbers will be rising here again shortly. Downtown New Hope has looked a lot like Florida and Texas – few masks, no meaningful distancing, very little common sense or precaution.

    So just like Texas and Florida had to go backwards and order all bars closed, the same will happen here sometime in the next 3-6 weeks.

    If Abbott and DeSantis, two dyed in the wool POTUS boot lickers, knew they had to reluctantly go backwards and close all the bars again when their constituents refused personal responsibility causing an explosion, you can bet Wolf will.

    I’d guess the new upward curve in PA will continue because of the Facebook echo chamber denialist crowd acting like the pandemic doesn’t exist, so you can be sure the bars will be closed again by the first week of August – and at that point, heading into autumn, it will be the end for many.

    Japan’s citizens used common sense and universally wore masks and observed social distancing without whining. As a result, their country has continued to function well and they only have 971 deaths as of today.

    971 deaths in a country of 126,000,000. If we had acted just as responsibly and apply that same percentage to our 328,000,000 we should only have 2,500 deaths. Instead we have 128,000 dead today with no end in sight.

    European countries won’t let us travel there. Elective surgeries are being cancelled again in many places, nurses and doctors are working exhausting shifts to their breaking points while risking their own health and that of their families to help others…

    But I’m glad the anti-maskers and people that think “distancing is for wimps” are able to get drunk again. Somehow I think they’ll be the ones whining the loudest when the bars are shut down again in a few weeks, and “non-essential” businesses are halted in the autumn.

    Everyone likes to say “we’re not shutting down again” – but wait. If DeSantis and Abbott are, you can bet we will too.

  • Remember who our council members and the enforcers are.Money talks and (@#$%) walks.Just like zoning play the game WINK,WINK.

  • Thank you Governor Wolf for keeping Pennsylvanians safe! Thank you teachers for figuring out at a moments notice how to teach our students remotely! You all did a remarkable job!
    Nobody ever said that being a leader would be easy, it comes with challenges and complications at every stage! We are not out of the woods yet. Everyone keep wearing your face masks!

  • Thank you Governor Wolf while your family business is exempt and you and your Administration get a full paycheck as well as Teachers.Thanks for nothing was the old saying. Why can’t we monitor your businesses and do a CITIZEN ARREST when your not in compliance.Coward!!!!!!!!

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