POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Restaurants across the commonwealth have taken advantage of the summer season to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus restrictions. They’re doing it with out door seating but the nice weather won’t last forever.
Outdoor dining has been a savior for many restaurants but as we get closer to winter it’s going to be less of a viable option, leaving many restaurant owners wondering what they will do next.
Tables and benches are lined up on the sidewalk outside Wheel Restaurant in Pottsville. Outdoor dining is helping bring the revenue back up since Governor Tom Wolf pushed restricted restaurant capacity back to 25 percent.
“When the shutdown first happened and we were doing delivery and takeout only, our sales were down 50 to 55 percent. That’s the direction we’re headed,” Savas Logothetides, Wheel owner said.
The lifeline won’t be an option as the days get colder, leaving restaurant owners with a chilling fear.
“If we go back to a delivery and takeout only, once winter comes around and the weather gets cold, there’s definitely going to be layoffs. And I would venture to say you’re going to see widespread closures across the restaurant industry,” Logothetides said.
A fate that customers do not want to see happen to any restaurant.
“Small businesses are going down hill and we don’t want to lose them,” Dora Kuznitz of New Jersey said.
“We’ve been trying to do takeout. We’ve been trying to do outdoor just to support the businesses but a lot of businesses that are small can’t sustain themselves,” Cindy Attanasi of New Jersey said.
The owner of Wheel is pleading for the governor to raise the capacity level to 50 percent or more and exclude restaurant workers from the count.
“For me 10 people work on a Friday or Saturday, my capacity is already at 15 or 20. That is really detrimental to that over all capacity number,” Logothetides said.
Logothetides says it needs to happen in the next 30 days so restaurants have a chance at surviving winter.