As expected, the Governor’s office and the Department of Health (DOH) have released updated guidance to help bars, restaurants, hotels and others implement the updated mitigation orders that will allow many businesses to increase their capacity starting April 4.  Here is a link to the full guidance, as well as a link here for updated FAQ’s issued by the Department of Health, but I highlight a few of the main items below.

Bar Service

You can resume bar service provided you implement the following rules.

  • Patrons must be seated in order to be served.
  • Bar blocks or some type of divider must be used to separate parties. Alternatively, if partitions are not used, then seats between parties must be spaced at least 6 feet apart. If multiple people are in a party, they may sit next to one another at the bar, without 6 feet of space in between.  The 6 feet of space is required between parties, not individuals in the same party.
  • A customer may walk up to the bar in order to purchase food or drink but must then return to their seat in order to consume it.


Continue Reading Updated Restaurant Guidance for April 4th Increased Capacity

One year ago today, on March 18, 2020, Aaron Marines wrote a blog article entitled How Does Coronavirus Affect Your Contracts? When that article was published, we were at the beginning of a government-mandated shutdown that was supposed to last for two weeks, just long enough to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases.

Now, one year later, with shut down orders still partially in effect and the phrase “flatten the curve” a distant memory, I decided to look back at what has happened on the Lancaster Law Blog. What I saw was a variety of articles about all of the things we here at Russell, Krafft & Gruber have done to stay up-to-date on the fast-paced changes to help our clients through this difficult time.

Virtual Offices

After the initial shutdown orders took effect, we quickly pivoted to working remotely through Russell, Krafft & Gruber’s virtual office to avoid any lapses in service for our clients. I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke with a client recently who was shocked to learn that most of our conversations over the past year took place with me at my dining room table.

Continue Reading COVID-19 and the Law: One Year Later

The Governor’s office has just announced that bars and restaurants can, starting at midnight on April 4, 2021, begin operating at 75% capacity, provided they have completed the self-certification process.

Self-Certification to Increase Capacity

For those that didn’t self-certify, that process is done online and requires you to certify that you will comply with CDC and Department of Health guidance relating to public health and safety measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. If you have not self-certified (and do not wish to now), you will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Currently, locations that don’t self-certify must operate at 25% capacity.

Regardless of whether you have self-certified or not, requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing still apply.

Continue Reading Increased Occupancy up to 75% for Bars and Restaurants in PA – Effective April 4

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus act into law known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”). While it would be impossible to do a deep dive into this massive stimulus package, here are some quick takeaways for individuals.

Stimulus Checks

The Act will provide payments to approximately 159 million American households that will start to go out on March 13, 2021.  The maximum amount per person is $1,400, including dependents.

The amount distributed will, again, be based on adjusted gross income and will have a phase-out period. Here’s who will receive the full amount:

  • individuals who earn up to $75,000
  • head of household filers with income of up to $112,500 and
  • married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $150,000


Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What Does It Mean For You?

Last week, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 109, which included $145 Million of funds allocated specifically for grants to the restaurant and hotel industries.  The Bill intentionally included some swift deadlines for Counties to accept applications and allocate funds.

This week, the Lancaster County Commissioners approved an Agreement with the Economic Development Company (EDC) of Lancaster to administer the funds allocated to the County under the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). Along with that Agreement comes some additional specifics for the program that interested applicants should know.

How much money is available?

Congress has allocated $6,181,069 to Lancaster County for distribution to eligible applicants.

More importantly, since the County has engaged the EDC to distribute other recovery funds, the EDC was able to quickly create program parameters and should also be able to quickly roll out an application.

Continue Reading Lancaster EDC to Administer COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP)

After months of uncertainty about whether additional relief for restaurants and hotels would come from state and federal government sources, some good news has started to flow to the hotel and restaurant industry. The latest comes in the form of a $145 Million allocation of funds to provide grants to those restaurants and hotels that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, as part of a larger $900+ Million relief package aimed at helping businesses, local governments, and others, the Governor signed Senate Bill 109. This Bill allocates $145 Million previously transferred from the PA Workers’ Compensation Fund and designates it for the exclusive purpose of providing grants to hotels and restaurants.

Continue Reading $145 Million in Relief for Restaurants and Hotels

The previous post on the third round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program covered the big stuff – the necessity test, qualifications for taking out a second loan, and the latest attempt at simplified forgiveness. Here in Part 2, I’ll be going over the finer details, including EIDL advances, expense deductions, the ERTC, and other notes and restrictions.

Covered Period

The Act will permit you to select your covered period (i.e., the period in which you must spend the PPP loan funds).  The covered period must be greater than eight weeks and not more than twenty-four weeks beginning from the date of disbursement.

Continue Reading Paycheck Protection Program Take Three? – Part 2

2020 has certainly been an interesting year.  Thankfully, it is ending with a new federal act aimed at relieving businesses, industries, and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

This Act consists of more than just a stimulus package. It also contains funding for the government through most of 2021.  My previous post, Finally, More Money! – The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, covered a broad overview of the stimulus package.  This post will discuss the third round of the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

While this is the third round of funding for the PPP, it is only the second time a single business may apply for that funding. The second round of PPP funding went to qualifying businesses that missed out on money the first time.

Continue Reading Paycheck Protection Program Take Three? – Part 1

It must be a Christmas miracle.  After deadlocking this summer and delaying over the weekend, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to additional aid to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The President has also signed this new bill, known as the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (the “Act”).

The Act is approximately 5,000 pages long, so a detailed analysis will take some time.  Therefore, this post is not intended to be comprehensive, and many items are still being hammered out. Here’s what we know so far:

The Bare Bones

The Act consists of $900 billion in aid and was a compromise between the two parties.  As such, it is not perfect. There are some aspects of the Act that both sides of the aisle are criticizing.

Continue Reading Finally, More Money! – The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

2020 has been a year of adapting, readapting, and then adapting again in an effort to combat a global pandemic.  Those in education have been hit particularly hard.  Most educators and administrators have had to develop multiple contingency plans, often with little warning.

The Lancaster Bar Association is concerned about the impact these unprecedented times are having on educators and the increased responsibilities they have been taking on.  Our teachers and administrators are putting themselves at risk daily to ensure the children of our community continue to get the education they need.  Some, like Manheim Township counselor Alexandra Chitwood, have even lost their lives.

Continue Reading Lancaster Bar Association is Offering Classroom Heroes Free Living Wills