‘Moving Target': What Restaurant Owners Say of Philly's Indoor Dining Delay

A restaurant serves take-out meals through their window in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philadelphia’s restaurant owners are facing another setback amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the city delays the relaunch of indoor dining that had been tentatively scheduled for Friday, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

The city had planned to move to the green phase of coronavirus recovery this week, including the return of limited indoor seating at restaurants, but officials decided Tuesday to scale back the allowed reopenings due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases. The daily case count is no longer falling and an uptick has been seen in the last two weeks among people under age 30, said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. The jump has been linked to social events and travel to the Jersey Shore.

Similar COVID-19 case increases are taking place across the country, widely impacting the hospitality industry. In some states, like Texas and Florida, outbreaks have been similarly tied to social events and restaurants and bars. In Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, officials have banned customers from consuming alcohol inside bars and restaurants to mitigate a new surge in cases. New Jersey indefinitely postponed the relaunch of indoor dining on Monday.

Philadelphia’s Health Department said it will reevaluate what is allowed to open on a weekly basis, though it is expected that indoor dining won’t resume until at least Aug. 1. Some local restaurateurs are disappointed but understand the city’s decision to postpone the rollout.

“At this point I think delaying it is probably the move because I’d rather delay now than have to wait until September comes and we have to close the bars again,” said Teddy Sourias, president of Craft Concepts Group, which includes Tradesman’s, U-Bahn, Bru, Finn McCools Ale House and Blume. “It’s been a rough run so far, but we need to keep our staff and customers safe. It does suck … but it's not like this is happening for no reason.”

Read more about Philadelphia restaurant owners' response to another delay of indoor dining.

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