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Benefits of Restaurant Self-Certification Highlighted
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 10/16/2020

At Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg Thursday, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carrie Lepore reminded Pennsylvania restaurants of the benefits of joining Open & Certified Pennsylvania. More than 7,500 restaurants have self-certified -- by completing a quick, easy online self-certification application -- confirming that they're taking every precaution, following all health guidelines, and keeping safety a top priority.

"Throughout the pandemic, Pennsylvania's restaurants have innovated to continue serving our commonwealth," said Redding. "Now, we're innovating for them by offering Open & Certified Pennsylvania as a new way to put themselves in front of Pennsylvanians looking for a safe place to dine."

PA Preferred Appalachian Brewing Company has self-certified all six of their locations in hopes of instilling confidence in Pennsylvanians looking for a safe, local dining experience. Local businesses are the heartbeat of Pennsylvania's economy, and Open & Certified Pennsylvania is a way for people to choose an eatery with confidence and support strong local economies.

"In the fight against COVID-19 and in our path to economic recovery, it's going to take all of us -- businesses and consumers alike -- doing the right thing, keeping each other safe, and remembering to support our local businesses," said Lepore. "By self-certifying, restaurants like Appalachian Brewing Company show their commitment to employees, patrons, and surrounding community."

Those looking for a safe dining experience are encouraged to browse self-certified facilities in the Open & Certified PA Business Directory, where searches can be performed based on county, city, zip code, or restaurant name.

Restaurants interested in being added to the directory can self-certify online at pa.gov/covid. In addition to being added to the searchable database for patrons, self-certifying allows restaurants, private social clubs, and other food service businesses that serve dine-in, sit-down food in a regular, non-event capacity to increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent. Self-certified retail food facilities must continue adhering to mitigation efforts that will keep employees and customers safe, at 50 percent occupancy.

Restaurants that self-certify are not subject to additional food safety inspection or scrutiny. The occurrence of regularly scheduled or complaint-based inspections from enforcement agencies is not affected by certification status. In fact, certifying proves that a business is committed to protecting employees and providing patrons a safe dining experience.

The Wolf Administration has released Frequently Asked Questions as a reference for restaurant owners and the public, along with updated restaurant guidance.

Business owners with additional questions about the self-certification program can contact covidselfcert@pa.gov.


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