WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Lycoming County is just days away from going ‘green.’ This means the restaurants will once again open their doors to diners who wish to eat in.
“I think every day since this whole thing happened has been a challenge and I think the challenge will continue far into the future as everyone tries to reinvent what it means to go out and eat,” said Steve Koch, owner of Bullfrog Brewery.
For Koch, these have been troubling times.
“Well it’s just been a real trip because every day brings new news and new approaches and hasn’t been a whole lot of sleep. Just laying in bed and wondering what’s going to happen, what’s the climate going to look like going forward?” he said.
And now, dining out will have a whole new look to reflect the guidelines outlined by the governor.
One method is to limit 50% of fire code capacity, or 12 people per 1,000 square feet.
“Well we’ve been preparing for a month or so. We’ve already moved our tables inside to 50% capacity. We’ve been training the staff. We brought 25 staff members back. We’re going to do training with the other 40 or 50 staff members and get them prepared for the new recommendations,” said Brad Russell, co-owner of Pier 87
In just less than a week, these tables and chairs will be moved up to the patio for full-time service. Right now they’re being used for customers to eat their takeout food.
“It’s going to be tough because I think we’re still going to have a large amount of people coming out to dine and of course we’re going to be a little bit short on tables but we’re extending—that’s another reason the tent’s up, for them to go enjoy some beverages while they wait for their table. It’s going to be a challenge but we’re up for it and I know my employees are up for it,” said Russell.
Community members are also bracing themselves for the new dine-in experience.
“Yeah I definitely see that like for example the buffets are done. And if they do a buffet then somebody’s going to serve you from the buffet but I definitely see things changing unfortunately. For the better, I don’t know—it won’t be as many people out. You won’t see as many people. So that stinks but that’s just the future of what we’ve got to do now,” said Mike Lundy of Williamsport.
While restaurant owners are ready to take on the new challenge, they say 50% capacity will hurt business.
“People are more scared than ever to venture out of their home and go into the unknown so I’m not sure exactly how that will play out,” said Steve Koch.
“This is totally strange and difficult situation not for me but for every restaurant. We’re all trying to adjust, we’re all making adjustments and hopefully we get back to an old normal with maybe some stipulations is what I like to call it,” said Brad Russell
Lycoming County enters the ‘green phase’ of reopening on June 5th.