Lehigh Valley restaurant owner discusses doing business as COVID restrictions ease

Written by on May 25, 2021

Lehigh Valley restaurant owner discusses doing business as COVID restrictions ease

By Brittany Sweeney

May 25, 2021

Sara Kennely, cleans one of the dining tables at Max’s Allegheny Tavern, Thursday, June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Come Memorial Day capacity limits will be lifted in Pennsylvania. Keeping everyone safe seems to still be the top priority.

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Rachel Griffith, owner of the Apollo Grill in Bethlehem, says she’s learned to make split-second business decisions during this pandemic.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who are vaccinated don’t have to wear masks, Griffith says she’s keeping the current rules at her restaurant through the holiday weekend.

“Our staff will continue to mask until we feel comfortable or, you know, it is time to unmask, but for the time being we will be masking and we will ask our customers to still mask as well,” Griffith says. 

As capacity limits are lifted, she says, they will set out a few more tables and add a couple more bar stools, but not much will change because she feels a sense of responsibility to make sure customers and staff are safe.

“We still have a responsibility to our community to make sure that we’re doing everything the right way. To date, I feel that we’ve done everything really well, so we’re going to continue that,” she says.

Many restaurants will not be able to open to full capacity after Memorial Day because of staffing shortages, she says, but she doesn’t see the employment situation improving until the added pandemic unemployment benefits end. 

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