PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Statewide COVID-19 restrictions were loosened for businesses and events.
Business owners have been anxiously waiting for this day, especially local restaurant and bar owners.READ MORE: Applications Open For LIHEAP With Increased Benefits
Restaurants are pouring it up because statewide restrictions have been eased.
“It’s like Happy Easter for everyone!” said Christie Neff, who is the owner of Twelve Whiskey Barbecue.
On Sunday, the indoor dining capacity for restaurants that are self-certified increased to 75%. If a restaurant is not self-certified, the owner may raise the capacity to 50% occupancy.
Restaurants can also resume bar service, serve drinks without food, and the curfew for removing drinks from tables was lifted.
“That’s probably 50% of my restaurant is bar, so it’s going to increase it hopefully by that much also,” said Neff.
The changes give a sign of relief to Neff. She purchased Twelve Whiskey Barbecue in the South Side in December 2019.
“I bought it and owned it for 3 months and had to close, so it was like a nightmare. I signed my whole life away to buy it. I’m like, ‘I’m going to be homeless’,” said Neff.
She wasn’t the only one ready for this day. Her customers were ready too.READ MORE: Majority Of COVID-19 Patients Hospitalized Are Unvaccinated, AHN Doctor Says
“I think it’s great, especially for local businesses that struggled over the last year and where we are right now Twelve Whiskey is one of my favorite places to come so I’m happy that they can actually start making some money now,” said Alexander Roberts.
Other businesses like gyms, casinos, malls, and theaters can move to 75% capacity.
Movie lovers are excited to have the real movie theater experience again.
“The experience wasn’t as fun, it’s more exciting when you get to hear everyone’s claps at the end of the movie,” said Icesis Jones, who just walked of the movie theater.
After a long year of facing the unknown, business owners are saying cheers to the future.
“I’m curious to see what life will hold now, moving forward, like I won’t have the stress of wondering if we are going to be open each week or not, or if I have to worry about paying bills,” said Neff. She also said, “the stress level has been such a huge rollercoaster, like over and over and over again, but it seems like we are at the light at the end of the tunnel and there’s only up from here.”
Indoor events can hold 25% capacity while outdoor events can increase to 50% capacity.
State leaders still encourage outdoor dining and take-out.MORE NEWS: College Towns Plan To Challenge Results Of 2020 Census
Customers are being urged to continue to take precautions like wearing masks and social distancing.