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July 03, 2020

Bucks County targeting bars that fail to comply with social distancing rules

Repeat offenders could have liquor licenses suspended, officials say

Bars COVID-19
bucks county bars order Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash

Health officials say they will visit Bucks County bars over the Fourth of July weekend to enforce social distancing and make sure that patrons are wearing masks.

Bucks County health officials will be visiting bars over the Fourth of July weekend to enforce social distancing measures designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

No more than four people can sit together and groups must be at least six feet from other patrons. Standing at the bar is prohibited. All staffers must wear face coverings. 

Bars found in violation will receive a warning and guidance for gaining compliance. Repeated violations could prompt liquor license suspensions.

Health officials first announced they would be closely monitoring establishments late last month – ahead of the county's transition to the green phase of Pennsylvania's COVID-19 reopening plan. 

Health Director Dr. David Damsker reinforced that message ahead of the holiday weekend, stressing that officials have made compliance oversight "a major initiative." 

"The Fourth of July, of course ... people are used to celebrating and having a good time," Damsker said during a new briefing Thursday, according to"Bars are one of the places that can be overwhelmed with people who won't be social distancing and won't be wearing masks."

The compliance push follows a statewide spike in coronavirus cases. The 832 new cases Pennsylvania reported Thursday marked the highest daily total in six weeks. Bucks County reported 34 new cases, its highest total since June 11, when 42 were reported. 

Pennsylvania has allowed bars and restaurants to resume indoor dining once counties move into the green phase, which Bucks County entered on June 26.

During this phase, diners must be socially distanced from one another or have physical barriers separating them from other groups. 

Still, Bucks County official said their contact tracing program does not indicate that the reopening of bars and restaurants fueled the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. 

The program has successfully tracked 97% of the county's cases. Some of the recently reported cases stem from travel to New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Arizona

Pennsylvania announced a statewide quarantine order advising travelers from 15 states to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive. Travelers from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah are affected. 

The Wolf administration said the order will not be enforced with penalties.

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