ALLEGHENY COUNTY (KDKA) — The new closing order for bars and restaurants in Allegheny County comes at a time when many small businesses are already struggling.

For one week, the Allegheny County Health Department is forcing bars, restaurants and casinos to close amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Activities and events with more than 25 people are also canceled.

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Takeout and delivery are still available, and the closures began Friday at 12:01 a.m.

Over the last two weeks, the state health department has been reporting increased new case numbers for the virus. Allegheny County Health Dr. Debra Bogen is also urging Allegheny County residents to not leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary. This order comes in addition to the on-site alcohol ban announced on Sunday.


“It’s just a little too inconsistent for my employees to make money, from my employees’ standpoint,” said Chris Bryant, managing partner and co-owner of Bonefish Grill McCandless.

Bryant says the county’s decision was made with little warning and with the same restrictions placed on bars and restaurants alike.

“Maybe restaurants or establishments that were a little bit heavier in the beer, liquor and wine sales, would have been a little bit more advantageous to us,” Bryant said.

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The changing rules are among a week of fluctuations for local businesses.

Mad Mex is part of the Big Burrito Group, with 10 restaurants in Allegheny County. President Bill Fuller was among restaurateurs who met with the county on Thursday morning to try and find a middle ground.

“And there are some operators who just don’t care,” Fuller said. “Some bars were adverting, on their social media, mask-free zones. That’s just not right.”

Customers who were mostly getting take out on Thursday night shared mixed feelings.

“My kids don’t have anything to do this summer. You can’t go out to eat and there’s not really been that many deaths,” said Wayne Booth of the North Hills.

“It’s possible we opened a bit too early,” said Sean Dickey of the North Hills.

For now, both restaurant groups say they’ll try not to furlough employees again, only if this shutdown lasts one week.

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They say a lot of time, effort and money has been lost.