Pittsburgh, Pa. − July 17, 2020 − Senator Lindsey M. Williams announced that she will soon introduce legislation to support the hiring of COVID-19 health inspectors dedicated to ensuring compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, allowing compliant bars and restaurants to remain open.

Throughout Pennsylvania and especially Allegheny County, an overwhelming number of coronavirus cases have been traced back to bars and restaurants. We know that so many of these small businesses are doing everything possible to keep their customers and staff members safe—purchasing plastic shields, setting up tents and tables outside, and following quickly changing regulations to the letter. However, we also know that there are a few bars and restaurants who are not protecting their employees and patrons, which has led to a spike in cases and strict adjustments that further limit the entire industry’s ability to generate revenue.

This legislation will allocate $50 million in CARES Act funding to hire, train, oversee, and support health inspectors who will be dispatched to investigate complaints of bars and restaurants not following CDC or Pennsylvania Department of Health Guidelines. This will allow businesses that are in compliance with guidelines to remain open, while keeping patrons and staff safe.

“Our bar and restaurant owners have made enormous sacrifices during the COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” said Senator Williams. “Many of them have been valiantly adapting to the changing guidelines, only to find themselves punished for the inactions of others. Hiring additional health inspectors would permit these compliant businesses to remain open and generating revenue, while addressing issues with non-compliant businesses. Striking a balance between supporting our small businesses and slowing the community spread of COVID-19 so that we can prioritize things like reopening our schools safely is key.”