WASHINGTON COUNTY (KDKA) – Since June 5, Washington County bars and restaurants have been operating under Gov. Tom Wolf’s green phase guidance.
With Allegheny County bars and restaurants under restrictions from the Allegheny County Health Department, Washington County restaurant owners pray they aren’t next.
“You spend all this money and then you shut down again? I don’t know, I just think it’s absurd,” said Debbie Distefano, owner of The Kopper Kettle in Washington.
On Tuesday, commissioners in Butler, Beaver, Washington, and Westmoreland counties confirmed they received word the state was going announce a potential new order impacting bars and restaurants Wednesday.
However, on Wednesday, the Governor’s Office said they would not make the announcement that day.
Commissioners in Butler and Westmoreland counties then confirmed Friday the state informed them they would not yet hand any mandates down impacting bars and restaurants in those counties.
It’s not clear if commissioners in Washington and Beaver County also received that message.
Taylor Minger, General Manager for Bubba’s Brews at The Washington Brewing Company, says he believes people in Washington County are doing their best to stop the spread of coronavirus, but he’s slightly concerned about potential future restrictions for bars and restaurants.
“There’s always that little voice in the back of your head that says ‘watch out this could happen again,’” he said.
Minger believes the current restrictions for restaurants in Allegheny County, which forbid indoor dining and limit alcoholic drinks to three per dine-in customer, are driving people to restaurants in surrounding counties.
“It’s definitely helped our business,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of people from Allegheny come down just so they can get out of the house, whereas Washington County doesn’t have the three drink limit.”
Randy Newman, who owns The Kopper Kettle with Distefano, says he doesn’t know if he’s benefiting from Allegheny County’s restrictions, but his business has seen a boost since they reopened on June 5.
“Since we were able to reopen, we’ve had some of our best weeks,” he said.
He added the past three weeks have been some of the most successful in the restaurant’s 36-year history.
Data from the State Department of Health last updated Saturday says there are 413 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington County.