Six Lancaster County restaurants were among 36 businesses the state ordered to close for defying COVID-19 restrictions during Gov. Tom Wolf’s indoor dining ban which ended Monday. One closure notice was issued by Lancaster city, which conducts its own inspections.
The “closed by notice” orders from the state Department of Agriculture were issued for the week ending Jan. 3, the day before the temporary order banning indoor dining expired. With six restaurants ordered to close, Lancaster County was tied with York County for the most in the state last week.
The department handles inspection of most restaurants in the state outside of major cities. Lancaster city, which conducts its own restaurants inspections, issued a closure notice last week to Café One Eight, 18 W. Orange St., which was forwarded to the agriculture department.
The six new new notices from the agriculture department follow enforcement for the week ending Dec. 27 when 32 restaurants across the state– including 11 in Lancaster County -- were ordered to close by the agriculture department for violating COVID-19 rules.
In all, during the three weeks of the indoor dining ban, the agriculture department issued 110 “closure by notice” orders to restaurants that ignored warnings and continued to offer indoor dining during the ban, including 18 in Lancaster County.
Since the ban on indoor dining has expired, the agriculture department has allowed even those restaurants that received closure notices to resume indoor service, a spokesman said.
The Lancaster County restaurants receiving state closure notices Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 were:
- Brights Drive-In, 1025 S. State St., Ephrata.
- Fox Meadows Creamery, 2475 W. Main St., Ephrata.
- Gus’s Keystone Family Restaurant, 3678 Rothsville Road, Ephrata.
- The Pancake Farm, 1032 State St., Ephrata.
- Tomato Pie Café, 23 N. Broad St., Lititz.
- Udder Choice, 1812 W. Main St., Ephrata.
Other restaurants statewide receiving closure notices from the agriculture department Dec 28-Jan. 3 were:
- Astoria Diner, York, York County.
- John Wright Restaurant, Wrightsville, York County.
- Paddock Restaurant, York, York County.
- Round the Clock Diner, York, York County.
- Round the Clock East, York, York County.
- Shiloh Family Restaurant, York, York County.
- Rene's Family Restaurant, East Berlin, Adams County.
- Crave Café, Sinking Spring, Berks County.
- Penn Grille, West Lawn, Berks County.
- Spring House Restaurant, Roaring Spring, Blair County.
- American Sandwich Company, Wyalusing, Bradford.
- Mel's Place, Cabot, Butler County.
- Jim's Italian Cuisine, Bellefonte, Centre County.
- Spankys Court House Café, Clearfield, Clearfield County.
- Brother's Diner, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.
- Walnut Bottom Diner, Carlisle, Cumberland County.
- Kuppy's Dinner, Middletown, Dauphin County.
- Tunnelton Inn, Saltsburg, Indiana County.
- Taste of Sicily, Palmyra, Lebanon County.
- Donahues Frogtowne Grille, Sybertsville, Luzerne County.
- Mccullough's Kitchen Table, Sandy Lake, Mercer County.
- Original Italian Pizza, Mifflintown, Juniata County.
- JT's Grill & Cue, Auburn, Schuylkill County.
- Leiby’s Ice Creram House & Restaurant, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County.
- West Penn Diner, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County.
- Sandi's Country Bar & Grill, Boswell, Somerset County.
- Rough Cut Tavern and Hotel, Burgettstown, Washington County.
- Brandi's on Main, Irwin, Westmoreland County.
- Sharky’s Café, Latrobe, Westmoreland County.
- Bluebird II, Factoryville, Wyoming County.
Although all restaurants have been allowed to resume indoor dining, some enforcement actions are continuing.
Nineteen restaurants, including Olde Hickory Grille in Manheim Township, which violated the indoor dining ban are still subject to a state Department of Health lawsuit filed in Commonwealth Court. That Dec. 23 case, filed through the Attorney General’s office, seeks an injunction to close the restaurants, as well as punitive damages for “willful and wanton” violation of the order as well as other damages “the court deems appropriate.”
Spokespersons for the attorney general's office and health department did not respond to questions about how the expiration of the indoor dining ban affects the ongoing lawsuit. As of Tuesday afternoon, a docket listing did not show any updates to the case.
In response to a question about whether there would be lawsuits filed against restaurants sent closure orders since Dec. 21, a spokeswoman said the health department “will take additional legal action when necessary in order to enforce the mitigation efforts put in place to keep Pennsylvanians safe.”