Guidance issued for the reopening of bars, karaoke, and live entertainment

Bars are now allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. (PNC file photo)

The latest PCOR-3 guidance from Public Health was signed today just in time for bars to reopen.

Bars were scheduled to reopen today at 5:30 in the evening. Many feel it was a long time coming as the bar industry was hard hit by the pandemic.

Many bar owners expressed frustration with the governor’s executive orders that allowed more and more businesses to open at a limited capacity but kept bars closed completely.

Rosanna Rabago, the administrator for Public Healths’ Division of Environmental Health, spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo about the new guidance.

One of the most notable updates is that bars and taverns as well as 52 other types of businesses are allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

Public Health retains the option to allow other types of businesses that aren’t listed in the guidance to operate at 50% capacity on a case-by-case..basis.

Business-to-business supply companies, hardware stores, and retail stores are allowed to operate at 75% capacity.

Another example from the new guidance is that karaoke clubs will be able to operate as long as the establishment uses disposable microphone covers.

Rabago said that live entertainment is also addressed.

She said that live entertainment covers everything from music to magic shows and even adult entertainment in strip clubs.

Public Health issued a guidance memo that breaks COVID safety measures down into eight categories.

Messaging and information, use of masks, physical distancing, employee health and hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, communal spaces and the health and safety of employees and guests.

Although the buzz around the new guidance tends to focus on bars and taverns, Rabago said that changes to public health’s guidance affect other types of establishments as well.

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“We just want the public to understand that every time there’s a new executive order issued by the governor, it prompts a whole bunch of changes in other businesses and operations because of the change in the PCOR level. Now, this particular guidance that we have, what we want to let the public know is it’s not just related to bars and taverns. It may come as a surprise that there are new updates for restaurants, and all other eating and drinking establishments that are under the purview of the Department of Public Health and Social Services. So this guidance encompasses all factions for COVID mitigation measures for not just bars and taverns, but also restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments,” Rabago said.

Rabago said that although Public Health’s enforcement policy will be active, they’re willing to work with an establishment to avoid shutting it down as long as the establishment is willing to come into compliance with the rules.