Restaurant Owners Warn Of Shutdown As Outdoor Dining Ramps Up Again

Outdoor dining with a three drink max begins again today in Allegheny County

KDKA Radio Staff
July 10, 2020 - 12:48 pm

    PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) -  Restaurant and bar owners are calling on leaders to act before it’s too late, warning a large percentage of operations may close permanently after the latest order for dine-in operations at bars and restaurants to stop for at least two more weeks.

    Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald tells KDKA Radio’s Marty Griffin.

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    “The good operators, the safe operators who are wearing their masks, who are keeping distant and doing the things that they need to have some way to have some relief,” said Fitzgerald.

    James Samreny, General Manager of The Oven Pizza Co. in Wexford is happy to be open again, even if it’s only on his patio, but he says the evolving rules make it difficult.

    “Every time you change there’s an effect in terms of your labor costs . . . their on unemployment then they’re back again, you’re changing your dining setup, you’re renting or buying tables, a tent potentially,” said Samreny.

    For the next two weeks restaurants are able to serve food to outdoor tables along with a three drink minimum on alcohol.

    Mark Teklinski, who owns Thorn Hill Tap House in Marshall, says the ability to sell alcohol makes all the difference.

    “Food is a very, very low margin and if you’re really stuck only doing food, you’re hands are tied,” said Teklinski.

    Fitzgerald says that the few restaurants and bars that were blowing off guidelines is the root of the problem and the main reason indoor dine-in was shut down again.

    “No masks and indoors and time, you’re spending time in there, a lot of time, those three things tend to be where the potential spread comes from,” said Fitzgerald.

    Hospitalizations and deaths remain relatively low even with new cases at the highest level ever.

    Physicians with UPMC say that is because most of the newly infected are young and fight the virus off easier.

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