“The devil’s always in the details,” alluded Executive Director Chuck Moran. He said expanding indoor capacity to 50% won’t amount to much when cold weather puts an end to outdoor seating. And, he believes a 10 p.m. last call could be a financial disaster for his members.
“A lot of my members will open at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and they’ll go through 2 in the morning, so that’s basically a 10-hour day. So they’ll lose four hours in sales,” he said. “That’s significant.”
John Brandt-Lee, owner of two establishments in West Chester and Bryn Mawr, said he’s fed up with the administration's one-size-fits-all approach.
“Why can’t there be rules in place and then enforcement for these rules?” he questioned. “Why do we all have to suffer?”
In Philadelphia, restaurants just opened indoor dining at 25% capacity, so the reaction to the new rules is better received. McGillin's Olde Ale House co-owner Christopher Mullins argued a 10 p.m. liquor cutoff makes sense in a coronavirus-led world.
“The later things get, the harder it gets to maintain that level of control that I think we have to have to make everybody safe,” he said.
And with more limited seating capacity, Philly owners won’t need to worry about self-certification documents — a requirement for places that serving up to 50% capacity.
Wolf’s order permits restaurants to increase indoor occupancy to 50% on Sept. 21.
“While our aggressive and appropriate mitigation efforts have kept case counts low, we must continue to take important steps to protect public health and safety as we head into the fall,” he said. “At the same time, we must also support the retail food services industry that has struggled throughout this pandemic.”