‘My heart sunk’: PA restaurants adjusting to even tighter restrictions


Donna's Diner in Sharon and all other restaurants throughout the state are only allowed to provide dine-in service to a quarter of their fire code occupancy

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Restaurants across Pennsylvania are still open for now but Thursday was the first day of new regulations from the state.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced more restrictions to businesses as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state. Those restrictions include dine-in services at restaurants.

Restaurants in PA will only be able to serve a quarter of the customers they were serving before coronavirus and there will be no more bar service.

“The bar is really what carries us,” said Tom Ristvey, Jr., owner of Vey’s Pub in Sharon.

After dinner Wednesday, staff took all of the bar chairs away from the counter. Vey’s Pub had to rearrange to comply with the new restrictions.

“I kind of saw another shutdown in our future, but I did not think it was going to be yesterday and certainly didn’t think we’d be given the lack of time to prepare,” Ristvey said.

Now, restaurants can only operate at 25% of their building’s fire code occupancy. Alcohol can only be purchased if you are sitting at a table and purchasing a meal or ordering takeout.

“My heart sunk. Truly, my heart sunk,” said Laura Ackley, general manager at Donna’s Diner.

Donna’s Diner can only let in 18 people at a time now. Ackley said they are lucky to have outdoor seating.

They’ve tried to adapt by adding curbside and delivery options so no matter what’s to come, they know they’re better prepared.

“Everything’s a new normal and we just have to continually adjust because I am not giving up the ship, so we’re going to keep going, whatever it takes,” Ackley said.

On top of restaurant restrictions, nightclubs in Pennsylvania are forced to stay closed. Businesses that can work from home must do so. Gatherings inside can be no more than 25 people and anything outside can’t be more than 250 people. Gyms and fitness centers are also being urged to do more activities outside.

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