Pennsylvania task force cracking down on crowded bars not following green phase rules

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- After seeing a spike in coronavirus cases among the younger crowd in Delaware County, officials are warning establishments that patrons and enforcement officers are watching.

"They're going out at night and they are going out to bars, and they are partying like it's 2019," said Christine Reuther, Delaware County Council member.

In Delaware County, positive COVID-19 cases are showing up in the 19-24-year-old age group.

"In the April month it was about 5% of our positives. In July, it's 15% that's a threefold increase," said Elaine Paul-Schaefer, Delaware County Council member.

Now, The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement is watching out for hotspots that pack patrons in without social distancing in mind.

"Numerous complaints have been filed. The bars are over capacity with people in close proximity, and obviously not wearing masks," says Dr. Monica Taylor, Vice Chair of the Delaware County Council.

Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000 and possible suspension and/or revocation of the liquor license.

Brick and Brew, in Media, say they are following the rules of the green phase. Some partitions are in place to separate guests at 50% capacity, all of whom must be seated.

"We're not going to try and squeeze anybody in here. Going against regular guidelines, that's not what we're about," said Regina Spaventa, the manager.

Employees at Spasso Italian Grill on State Street said their first priority is also following the guidelines.

Employees say they haven't spotted enforcement officers, yet.

"They probably haven't made themselves aware, but we obviously welcome it. We want to keep people safe," said Cody Schultz, of Spasso Italian Grill.

The green phase has been rolled back to yellow in western parts of the state, but no one wants to see that happen in Delaware County.

"This is a time to address it before it becomes that massive problem before there are so many cases that it does roll us back into the yellow," said Taylor.

The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement is asking patrons to report bars and restaurants disobeying green phase rules.

To report an over-crowded bar or restaurant call: 1-800-932-0602 or visit their website.
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