ALLEGHENY COUNTY (KDKA) – The ban on alcohol in restaurants and bars for on-site consumption is not only frustrating for customers. It is also frustrating for owners who have followed the guidelines from day one.
“We spent a lot of money on bringing alcohol back so that it has stopped abruptly now,” said poor Richard Public House managing partner Connie Scanlon.
A brusque setback for poor Richard’s public home in Wexford, a company that according to Scanlon has done everything possible to make sure everyone was safe since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our staff has cleaned, disinfected, recorded, moved everything, measured and where it should be here,”
Scanlon said he had spaced seats in their bar area, asked for masks until customers sat at their table and even set up a tent outside to make room for outdoor dining.
The Rochester Inn in Ross Township followed the same rules. He also added a curtain outside to accommodate guests. But now, the company is closing its doors on Tuesday.
“I’m tired of dealing with all of this and getting nothing out of it. It’s not worth being open. We have a 50 percent capacity. He’s not paying his bills,” said Rochester Inn owner Kevin DuMont.
DuMont is making the difficult decision to transfer all of its employees until further notice.
“If you have bars they don’t respect, close them. But people who are trying to make a living are not doing well,” said DuMont.
While Fat Head general manager Ryan Bonatesta said he followed rules such as requesting entry masks and social distance, he said there is stigma since they are on the south side. Numerous bars and restaurants on the South Side have been linked to COVID-19 cases through contact tracking efforts.
“Being tied to a brewery and also being a bar is a big hit for us, and it feels like we’re piled up in other types of bars. We aren’t part of it,” said Bonatesta.
“It’s daunting. For me, it’s about integrity, doing what’s right. Everyone has given us the same guidelines,” said Scanlon.
Allegheny County bars and restaurants may continue to serve food on site, but will only be able to offer alcohol after the ban enters into force.
Many restaurant and bar owners can’t help but wonder if this is the last sign of life for a while.
WATCH: KDKA’s Pam Surano reports live
“Seventy percent of the workers don’t work here. You have no agreements, you have no theater, you have no sporting events. Why should people come downtown? Said Len Simple, owner of the Blackbeard’s Sports Bar.
The Barbanera sports bar has offices in the Monte. Washington and downtown. Simple says that after implementing security measures, he believes that the county’s new alcohol restriction has not been well thought out.
“I’m driving people away because you can’t have anyone there. But go down the street or next door and they have wall-to-wall people and they’ve passed 50 percent of the occupation,” Simple said.
On the social media app Reddit, a user’s post has gained a lot of momentum. The post highlights the factories that follow the rules of the “green” phase to encourage take-away and other commercial activities in these places.
In response to the new restriction, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association sent a letter to Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald and the state Department of Health.
READ THE COMPLETE LETTER HERE
The Allegheny County Health Department wants people to report any business that violates the ban.
If the inspectors determine that the activity is in violation, it will remain closed for at least a week.