Higher capacity and resumed bar services coming soon to Pa. restaurants

Written by on March 26, 2021

Higher capacity and resumed bar services coming soon to Pa. restaurants

By  Ben Stemrich

March 26, 2021

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Restaurant owners let out a collective sigh of relief recently when Gov. Tom Wolf announced he’ll lift some COVID restrictions. This includes bringing back bar and alcohol service if not ordering food.

Listen to the story.

The Mint gastropub in Bethlehem is operating at 50% percent capacity, as ordered. However, on  April 4, restaurants, like it, will be able to open up to 75%.

Owner Dominic Lombardo has been desperate for good news.

“The initial gut reaction is awesome. Let’s keep going and, after reflection, it’s like, but we’re not going to stop. We’re not going to stop asking for more, we need to get back to 100%. But hey, every step forward is a step in the right direction,” Lombardo says. 

It’s been a long, hard wait.

“Watching the news and seeing so many other states progressing and moving forward, in making that leap of trust really kind of letting us back to some sort of resemblance of business as usual,” Lombardo says. 

Before the pandemic, the small Hummus House in Allentown could seat about 14 people. Owner Albert Hechme says 50% or 75% capacity, it doesn’t really matter.

“See, I mean, how? Seventy-five percent, it means ya know, I still have to maintain social distancing,” Hechme says.

They had to shut down for several weeks, Hechme says, and he has only had a third of his usual business since the pandemic started.

“I know a few people, like my size, that have shut down for good, and it’s going to be very hard to reopen,” he says.

The governor’s order will also increase capacity limits on places like casinos and gyms.

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