Governor Tom Wolf said that restaurants may increase indoor occupancy from 25 to 50% beginning later this month. This however does come with some changes.
We spoke with some local establishment owners about this change.
In July, owners have said that they want to expand on their capacity. Now the Wolf Administration has granted that wish while also revising one policy.
“It was impossible is what it was, impossible, but we did it. This now gives us hope at going to 50%. There is a light, there’s a tunnel, there’s hope,” said Bobby Borgia, Owner of Kellar’s Modern Magic and Comedy Club.
Starting on September 21st, restaurants can increase indoor seating to 50%. For many venues the 25% capacity hit revenue hard.
“I’ve just kind of been hearing horror stories about businesses failing and sales are so low and their not making ends meet. You know it’s a struggle,” said Marci Honard, Owner of Calimari’s Squid Row.
According to the owner of Calimari’s, 25% is not something that the industry can survive on for long.
Honard added that the profit margin is low considering the two factors of quantity and quality.
Out of the restaurant owners we spoke to, they said that every little bit helps. Some however feel that this is somewhat of a double edged sword now having a mandate when it comes to liquor sales.
When the mandate goes into effect, establishments will not be permitted to sale alcohol after 10 p.m.
“It’s like here is some good news. The good news is we are at 50%. The bad news is that you have to be in bed by 6 o’clock. I’m like what?” said Borgia.
Honard said that the liquor sales are more of a profitable part of the business.
The new mandate on alcohol sales comes after a mitigation effort enforced by the neighboring state of Ohio.
Restaurants will also need to follow health and safety guidelines and orders through a self-certification process by October 5th which is also similar to an effort started in Connecticut.
Another question many of these owners have is what will the Fall look like?
According to the Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Lavine, “we will see.”