Kenney asks restaurants to wait for his guidelines as they prepare for outdoor dining on June 5

"It's going to change over time. Right now, we're just really concentrating on doing it safely,” he said. 

Like other owners, Hornik is working on re-hiring staff and addressing their concerns.

"Some staff live with people who are immunocompromised, they might not be able to come back to work. We've been getting a lot of concerns about transportation,” he said. 

Executive director of the Old City District Job Itzkowitz said he and other business district leaders have collectively asked Mayor Kenney to allow restaurants to use parking spaces, adjacent lots, streets, and other spaces for outdoor dining.

"We're proposing a relaxation of rules on cafe seating for the duration of COVID regulations,” Itzkowitz said. 

Guidelines are expected to be released by Kenney next week. 

"In the meantime, no restaurants should be announcing plans to launch outdoor dining on June 5. We need you to wait to ensure that our protocols can be followed,” Kenney said. 

And Ben Fileccia with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association is asking diners to be understanding. 

"Patience is going to go a long way. You know you might even see some menu price increases because it's going to cost a lot more to feed folks,” Fileccia said. 

But Itzkowitz, who has already started to see at least one prominent restaurant closure in his district, said outdoor dining is essential to neighborhoods' economic survival.

"I would say it's the next step and it gives the restaurants a fighting chance,” he added.