Philly restaurants fear restrictions again due to rise in COVID cases, omicron variant

Restaurants in Philly are concerned about the possibility of restrictions due to a rise in COVID cases and the omicron variant.

"I’m just trying to be as hopeful as possible that it works out with the least amount of restrictions at least for the small businesses and restaurants," said Samantha Marrone. She’s been back since June 2020 working the bar at Stogie Joe's Tavern on East Passyunk in South Philly and she doesn't want that to change at all. 

"Knock on wood I’ve been very lucky but again just I’m doing my best to keep myself as healthy as possible so I can continue to come to work," she said. But because of COVID and new variants like omicron on the rise everywhere businesses including restaurants around the city are wondering if they'll have to scale back business again. 

Ciro Lubrano Lavadera hopes it doesn't come to that for his restaurant LaScala's Birra. But he says he would be willing to make some changes to keep employees and customers safe. 

"Probably limit a little bit more the indoor capacity to let people feel a little bit more safe with having more space at their disposal," he said. Several restaurants in the city have reported having to close temporarily due to COVID cases. LaScala's Birra included. 

"We had a situation where we had to close for 48 hours because even though every employee in this location is vaccinated somebody who was vaccinated tested positive for COVID," said Lavadera. 

Business owners say they're getting the feeling customers are becoming frightened about dining indoors. We found a couple eating outside Stogie’s alone tonight while everyone else dined inside. 

"We made the decision because we’re very concerned about COVID in general and especially with the new variant. We’re traveling to see family and don't want to inadvertently get exposed and make someone else sick," said Ashley Lomery. 



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