Bucks County

Reopening guideline recommendations & Resources by industry



Ben Fileccia from the Pennsylvania Restaurant Lodging Association and Visit Bucks County staff are visiting restaurant partners in towns throughout the county over the next few weeks.  During their stops they are answering questions about reopening guidelines and assisting restaurants with providing necessary signage. 


In all phases PA Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts can continue to operate, with limited staff, in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the CDC. No pools may be open until the green phase. Outdoor pools may be open in yellow at 50% occupancy.  Indoor pools and fitness center cannot open until the green phase at 50% occupancy with social distancing in place. All pools are to submit plans for review and comment to the Bucks County Department of Health prior to implementation.


  • Use franchise-approved hospital grade disinfectant/cleaning products.
  • Enhance cleaning frequency in all public areas and all public hard surfaces to be cleaned and sanitized after every use.
  • Extra disinfection of high touch areas in guest rooms and common areas.
  • Limit or temporarily close self-serve and other communal serving/seating areas within recommended guidelines.
  • Add hand sanitizing stations/wipes at guest entrances and high traffic areas.
  • Add signage and/or floor markings indicating 6 fts. distancing in common areas.
  • Provide masks for all employees.
  • Provide training for staff on new protocols.
  • Require employees and guests to mask while on-site.
  • Install plastic barriers at reception areas to physically separate hotel staff and guests.
  • Increase length of time between vacancy and cleaning rooms.
  • Institute contactless check-in/out and room access if able.
  • Offer flexibility in cancellation & booking policies to encourage guests with any symptoms to stay home.
  • Have each staff member complete a health survey prior to their shift and enforce strict guidelines for staff that are sick to stay home and quarantine for 14 days.


Pennsylvania Restaurant Lodging Association (PRLA):  https://www.prla.org/welcomeback.html

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA):  https://www.ahla.com/reopen

The Pennsylvania Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (PABBI): https://www.painns.com/node/2278


Yellow:  In-Person Retail Allowed, curbside and delivery preferred.  Limit the number of people inside your establishment to no more than 50% of totally maximum occupancy.

Green:  In-Person Retail Allowed.  Limit the number of people inside your establishment to no more than 75% of totally maximum occupancy.


  • Enhanced cleaning frequency in all public areas and sanitization of high touch areas.
  • If indoor shopping permitted, install plastic barriers at check-out areas to physically separate cashiers and customers.
  • Provide masks for staff.
  • Provide training for staff on new protocols.
  • Require customers and staff to wear masks at all times, with some exceptions for infants and those with medical conditions.
  • Use floor decals and other visual cues to encourage spacing by customers.
  • Use non-contact payment methods if possible.
  • Close registers if needed to separate cashiers by at least 6 feet.
  • Modify hours so that there is enough time to clean and restock. 
  • Place handwashing stations or hand sanitizer at entry and outside communal bathrooms for all staff and visitors with prominent signage promoting use.
  • Give staff hourly handwashing breaks.
  • Encourage online ordering by providing delivery or pick-up options.


State of PA:  https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200504-COVID-19-Business-Guidance.pdf

Retail Industry Leaders Association: https://www.rila.org/coronavirus-resources-for-retailers

RESTAURANTS & RETAIL FOOD SERVICE BUSINESSES (Wineries, Breweries, Private clubs, and Bars)

Yellow: Retail food service businesses, restaurants, private event spaces and wedding venues with food service are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales, as well as outdoor dining seating areas at 50% occupancy.

Green: As of July 15, 2020 indoor seating has been reduced to 25% occupancy with social distancing. Starting September 21, 2020 restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50%. Any restaurant that wishes to increase to 50 percent indoor capacity on September 21 must complete the online self-certification process by October 5. Business owners should keep a copy of the self-certification confirmation they will receive by e-mail. Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons. Further, starting September 21 restaurants that have alcohol sales will close alcohol sales at 10:00 PM. Additionally, restaurants that self-certify will be mailed Open & Certified Pennsylvania branded materials, such as window clings and other signage designating their certification, which they can display for customers and employees. The self-certification documents and information about the Open & Certified Pennsylvania program can be found online starting September 21. Restaurant owners with additional questions about the self-certification program can contact covidselfcert@pa.gov.

All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, as required by this guidance, including:

  • Prohibition from conducting operations unless the facility offers sit-down, dine-in meals or is serving take-out sales of alcoholic beverages. Customers being served must be seated at a table; bar service is prohibited.
  • Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.
  • Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.
  • Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e. tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.

This guidance applies to all restaurants, private event spaces and wedding venues with food service, licensed clubs, and bars, regardless of whether the business operates within a larger facility such as a hotel, casino, convention center, conference center or similar large venue.

Private event spaces and wedding venues which do not offer food service are not subject to this guidance, but must follow all applicable provisions of the commonwealth’s Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public.



  • Access to indoor areas, other than sanitized bathrooms or to access outdoor seating, is prohibited except through-traffic. 
  • Non-bar seating in outdoor areas may be used for customer seating.  Customers must be seated at a table.
  • No self-service, buffets
  • No condiments on the table
  • Must use disposable or digital menus that can be sanitized


  • Reduce seating capacities to allow for a minimum of 6 ft. between each seated group/party of guests, , although shielding may be used if unable to maintain proper distancing between tables.

  • Don’t use shared tables among multiple parties unless the seats can be arranged to maintain six feet of distance between parties.

  • Spacing must also allow for physical distancing from areas outside of the facility’s control (i.e. such that pedestrians on a sidewalk can pass with at least six feet of distance to customer).

  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced. Maximum occupancy, to include all customers and employees at the facility, is calculated using the following two methods. The more restrictive number must be used.

    • Method 1. Limit indoor occupancy to 25% of stated fire code maximum occupancy. When no fire code number is available for outdoor dining, occupancy of up to 25 people per 1,000 square feet number is allowed.
    • Method 2. Arrange the restaurant or retail food service business so that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table in any direction and calculate the maximum number of customers that can be accommodated.
    • In the Yellow and Green Phases of reopening, discrete gatherings are limited to 25 individuals.
    • In addition to these maximum occupancy limits, additional limits apply to discrete gatherings and events which may be held within the restaurant, facility, or venue, such as weddings, and catered events. Specifically, restaurants, facilities and venues must limit the total number of individuals gathering at one time (including staff) for any discrete gathering or event within the facility or venue as follows:
  • If live musicians are performing at a restaurant, facility or venue, they must remain at least six feet from patrons and staff.

  • Customers must wear masks while entering, exiting, or traveling throughout the restaurant. Face coverings may be removed while seated with some exceptions for infants and those with medical conditions.

  • Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart in lines or waiting for seating or in line for the restroom.

  • All employees will receive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols.

  • All wait staff, hosts, takeout window, and register staff must be masked. Staff may choose between masks or face shields as appropriate. Either gloves (with changes at frequent intervals) must be worn, or frequent handwashing/hand sanitizer use with at least 60% alcohol must be done on a regular basis.

  • Assign employee(s) to monitor and clean high touch areas frequently while in operation including entrance doors, bathroom surfaces, host stands etc., and continue to regularly clean all other areas of the restaurant or retail food service businesses. Clean and disinfect any shared items with which customers will come in contact such as tabletops, digital menus, check presenters, and digital payment devices after each customer use.

  • Implement procedures to increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency in the back of house. Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants.

  • Sanitize all menus after every seating or use single use/disposable menus. Consider replacing placemats with single use disposable or do away with.

  • Tables, bar tops and chairs to be sanitized after each use.

  • Condiments to be served in single use containers (either disposable or sanitized after each use).

  • Check presenters, pens and other reusable guest contact items to be sanitized after each use.

  • Stagger work stations to avoid employees standing adjacent or next to each other when possible. 

  • Establish a limit for the number of employees in shared spaces to maintain at least a six-foot distance.

  • Ensure employees do not share equipment to the extent possible.

  • Verify that dishwashing machines are operating at the required wash, rinse and sanitize temperatures and with appropriate detergents and sanitizers.

  • Buffets are allowed in green.  High touch areas must be cleaned and disinfected regularly in addition to changing utensils (tongs) on a regular basis.

  • Self-service area (coffee dispensers, soda machines, etc.) are permitted to fully operate with frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high touch points.

In addition to the requirements above, all private event spaces and wedding venues with food service authorized to conduct in-person activities pursuant to this guidance must require event hosts to maintain a list of all guests in attendance including phone number and expected location 14 days after the event.

This guidance does not authorize any specific external area near or adjacent to a business in the restaurant industry for outdoor dining. Businesses must obtain any permits or other authorization, as required, to serve food and beverages outside of physical indoor service areas.


State of Pennsylvania:  https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/restaurant-industry-guidance/

PRLA:  https://www.prla.org/welcomeback.html

National Restaurant Association (NRA): https://www.visiterie.com/assets/National-Restaurant-Association-COVID19-Reopening-Guidance.pdf


Green:  Open at 50% Occupancy


  • Customers must wear masks at all times, with some exceptions for infants and those with medical conditions.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day in high traffic areas.
  • Reducing capacity in accordance to state guidelines.
  • Social distancing must be maintained and clearly communicated to the guest/customer.
  • Provide PPE for all employees based on their role and responsibilities to adhere with state/local regulations.
  • Provide training for staff on new protocols.
  • Closing some areas/seats to maintain social distancing.
  • Plexiglass shields should be installed between seats/ in front of all register areas.
  • Addition of hand sanitizing stations/wipes at guest entrances and high traffic areas.
  • Addition of signage and/or floor markings indicating 6 ft. distancing in common areas.
  • Move to mobile ticketing if able.


Amusement Parks:




National Association of Theater Owners:  https://www.natoonline.org/blog/news/coronavirus-resources-for-exhibitors/

CELEBRATION VENUES (Weddings, reunions, etc.)

Yellow: Outdoor seating and service allowed up to 25 people and 50% Occupancy but not advised.

Green:  Indoor gatherings of more than 25 people, including staff, prohibited.  Outdoor gatherings of more than 250 people, including staff, prohibited.


See guidelines under restaurants.  Additional guidelines forthcoming.

SPORTS (Collegiate, Pre-K to 12 School Sports):

State Guidelines

Additional Resources for all Bucks County Businesses: