PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Starting Monday, restaurants are getting the chance to allow more patrons inside their businesses because of a new order from Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
Restaurants in Pennsylvania are dusting off tables and chairs they haven’t been able to use because they had to stick to the 25% indoor capacity.
The new order comes as good news to many, but some are saying it’s still not enough. For smaller sized restaurants, they say it feels like they can’t get ahead.
Dor-Stop Restaurant in Dormont is a smaller restaurant. They added seating outside in hopes that will get more customers, but they admit with the cooler weather coming, that may not help.
“This has been very difficult for us,” said Dor-Stop owner Jennifer Berger.
Berger has owned Dor-Stop for five years. She should be thrilled about the Wolf administration’s new order allowing restaurants to up their capacity, but instead she finds her place stuck at 25%.
“Location, the size of ours, we really can’t increase capacity any and still maintain the 6 feet distance,” said Berger, referring to the health and safety guidelines all restaurants must follow if they choose to increase their capacity.
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According to the governor’s office, it’s part of the self-certification process. It allows restaurants to expand their indoor dining if they follow strict guidelines.
Jennifer has considered the option of building barriers between customers, but she says it comes with a cost.
“That is at an expense. And when business is significantly hindered, it’s hard to determine what expenses should you move forward with and what you shouldn’t,”
Berger says the pandemic hasn’t only changed the way her customers sit on the inside, it has also led them to cutting back their hours.
Another change? Allowing on-site alcohol consumption to end at 11 p.m.
The Wolf administration says restaurants wanting to up their capacity to 50% must self-certify.
That means restaurants have to commit to all public health and safety guidelines to protect customers from the coronavirus, like social distancing.
The administration says restaurants that self-certify will appear in a searchable online database.