SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — June 5 will mark a big milestone in the process of reopening Pennsylvania’s economy, as outdoor dining at restaurants will be allowed across the commonwealth.
Restaurant owners are preparing for their reopening, while adhering to certain health guidelines.
Among the restaurants setting up for the big day is Cooper’s Seafood House. They have been in business for over 70 years and closed their doors Thursday to prepare for new regulations.
“We want to train our staff with all the regulations that we’re going to need to implement,” Cooper’s Seafood House Co-owner Jack Cooper told Eyewitness News. “We’ll have two meetings with the staff. We’ll go over sanitizing, how they’ll handle the customers. We want to make it work right.”
After nearly two months of no-dine in service, customers will be able to return to the restaurants for more then just curb-side pick up. Like many other local businesses, the shutdowns have impacted their bottom line.
“Everything has gone to take out which has become a lot harder. It’s about ten times harder for us and we make about a tenth of the money,” Cooper said.
Governor Tom Wolf announced that restaurants can start outdoor dine-in service June 5, giving Cooper’s a crucial opportunity as it was originally only allowed for counties in the green phase of the state’s reopening plan.
Following guidelines, however, means adapting to a temporary new normal. At Cooper’s tables are spaced six feet apart and reusable menus have been swapped for disposable ones. Even condiments, which are normally shared, have been separated and customers are offered the option to use plastic silverware.
Regardless, as one of the many restaurants in Northeastern Pennsylvania that’s preparing for outdoor dining, the move is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re all looking forward to it. Our staff’s looking forward to it. We’re all prepared,” Copper said.
Cooper’s has 100 seats available outside but will continue curbside pick-up for customers as well.