The owners of Gianna Via's insist staying open is safe.By Paul Martino

WHITEHALL, Pa. (KDKA) — Despite the most recent mitigation efforts, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has ordered 33 more defiant restaurants to close.

One of those restaurants is Gianna Via’s in Whitehall, where business is booming despite the pandemic and a closure sign from the Allegheny County Health Department.

Ron Baldinger: I think the health department should go back home and don’t worry about things. Get people back to normal.

KDKA’s Paul Martino: You’re not concerned about COVID?

Baldinger: No.

KDKA took a peek inside the restaurant on Wednesday and every table was filled. Tony and Mary Machi are the defiant owners.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“I don’t think it should of ever been closed because I think we are being picked on. It is ridiculous. You can see, people want to eat,” said Tony.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association responded Wednesday to Governor Tom Wolf letting restrictions imposed earlier this month expire next week.

“Businesses lost a key time of the year, while many bartenders and servers missed out on usually very generous tips during the holiday season,” the association said in a statement.

They are asking “state senators and representatives to move legislation to provide industry-specific grants.” They also “urge” the governor to lift the order that prevents restaurants from using bar-top seating.

The owners of Gianna Via’s insist staying open is safe.

“We have not had one case of COVID in our restaurant. No one has called and said, ‘Hey, we were in your restaurant and got COVID there,'” said Tony.

It remains to be seen what happens to the restaurants that remained open. The state is threatening legal action.