PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A lot of businesses are taking a hit during the pandemic — including restaurants. Restrictions are changing from week to week, and restaurant owners are struggling to keep up.

One trade group wants the state to help keep local businesses stay afloat.

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The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association says it needs help, and it wants the state come up with a bailout package to help struggling restaurant and bar owners.

Bars and restaurants have taken the brunt of the COVID-19 restrictions. It’s hurt them financially, and frankly, the series of rulings are confusing.

“It’s been pretty up and down like a seesaw, wishy washy, just absolutely devastating for our industry and our business itself,” says bar owner Susan Williams.

While Gov. Wolf is restricting restaurants to 25 percent occupancy, Allegheny County says no inside dining. Who do you listen to? For now, Allegheny County’s restrictions will stand.

“Dr. Bogen and the health department’s order is still in place,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “She is looking at mirroring parts of the governor’s order. That announcement may be made in the coming days.”


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Meanwhile, a bar trade group is calling on the state to offer a subsidy for lost business, especially since they pay a big license fee to operate.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is calling on the state to develop a bailout package specific for the industry, saying “at a time when the industry is already struggling, this makes matters worse.”

“Our members are paying their yearly licensing fees to the state, but not being allowed to operate fully. In addition, business loans, rent, utilities and industry vendors still must be paid out of reduced revenue,” a statement from the association says.

“For starters, Pennsylvania should immediately eliminate all state fees associated with running a tavern or restaurant. In addition, higher discounts should be provided to licensed establishments purchasing liquor from the state. Furthermore, additional financial assistance should be included.”

At the Take A Break Bar in Lawrenceville, they couldn’t agree more.

“It’s like paying insurance on a car that you can’t drive. Its absurd. Makes no sense,” says Williams.

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County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is hinting that the county could soon allow limited numbers of customers inside bars and restaurants since the coronavirus numbers may be dropping in Allegheny.