Gov. Tom Wolf talks about his economic agenda for 2021, including increasing the minimum wage. (Flickr/Office of Gov. Tom Wolf) Wolf Talks Minimum Wage
Gov. Tom Wolf talks about his economic agenda for 2021, including increasing the minimum wage. (Flickr/Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)

Going away are a ban on seating at the bar and serving alcohol after 11 p.m., as well as a requirement that patrons order food with their alcoholic drinks.

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf will expand more business and event capacity limits and lift a raft of long-standing coronavirus restrictions on bar service starting on Easter Sunday, April 4, giving some relief to one of the hardest-hit business sectors, his administration said Monday.

The announcement relaxing capacity limits on events is the second time Wolf has taken such a step this month as spring sports seasons start up and virus-related hospitalizations continue to decline.

The relief is still three weeks away, meaning bars and restaurants will still have to live with the current limits during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the NCAA Tournament’s March Madness craze.

Many communities in the state have already scuttled their St. Patrick’s Day plans for the second consecutive year.

Bars and restaurants can raise indoor capacity limits to a maximum of 75% from 50%, but must follow the state’s social-distancing requirements, which include wearing masks except for when eating and drinking.

Going away are a ban on seating at the bar and serving alcohol after 11 p.m., as well as a requirement that patrons order food with their alcoholic drinks.

Other businesses can also move to 75% of maximum capacity, including personal services salons, gyms, casinos, theaters and malls.

For gatherings, outdoor events can start to host up to 50% of maximum capacity, up from 20%, while indoor gatherings can host up to 20% of maximum capacity, up from 15%.

Wolf’s restrictions, while often in line with other governors’ actions around the country, have been attacked by republicans in the state legislature. In October, he vetoed a bill that would have opened restaurants.

The state legislature passed the bill as the fall resurgence was beginning to explode.

Wolf ended up having to double down on the state’s mitigation efforts, by adding restrictions on Dec. 11 that were lifted on Jan. 4.

Two weeks after Wolf instituted his restrictions, the state’s numbers started falling.

Associate Editor Patrick Abdalla contributed to this report