'Barely making it': Restaurant owners speaking out over Philly's new restrictions

As of 5 p.m. Friday and for at least the next six weeks the inside of Philly restaurants will be empty. Officials say the move will hopefully help bring down the spike in COVID numbers in the city. 

"Abruptly. Five days’ notice and it's back to ground zero," said Michael Clark. 

"Some people are barely making it. This could put them on the brink," says Clark. He owns Reef Restaurant and Lounge near 3rd and South Street in South Philly. He says a city order temporarily ending indoor dining is devastating. 

"Last night when we let our staff go and let them know what was going on we had tears shed."  Clark says his place isn't big enough for 50% capacity with six feet social distancing. But even at 25 percent capacity, he says they were successful. 

"You could still go get your hair done and do whatever. Why you chose restaurants? Why not peel it back 25 %?" he asked.

Next door at O’Neal’s Irish Pub the owner Greg Rand is making plans to continue and expand outdoor dining through winter. 

"We're going to line up tents. They'll have sides and everything and we'll make sure we have enough ventilation," said Rand. He says navigating this pandemic has been costly especially not being at full capacity. 

Rand wants legislators to pass additional financial relief for the restaurant industry. 

"And just tell us to close down for six months. That way we can take care of our families and we can take care of our employees and we can move on pass this. Because supposedly the word is the restaurants are the ones passing this but show me the facts, show me the numbers," said Rand. 


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