Pa. businesses can now operate at 100% capacity

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As of Monday, the state no longer has capacity restrictions. The only restriction left is a mask mandate for people who are not vaccinated.

Throughout the pandemic, businesses, especially in the restaurant industry were hit hard. From cafes to bars, this year was hard on everyone.

“Having only half the people come in definitely hurts me, it hurts the owner and it hurts everybody because we couldn’t have as many people as we used to,” said Marilu Saldana, a server a Roxy’s Cafe.

Bringing back more seating and full capacity is a sign things are changing for the better.

“It was fun today to come in a little early and take all the chairs that have been hiding
in my office for the last year and a half and put them back out around the bar and the tables we haven’t been using,” said Adam Sturges, owner of The Sturges Speakeasy.

Some new practices during the pandemic have paid off, like new ways to clean and using QR codes instead of printed menus.

“The QR codes could be a game-changer in the restaurants,” said Sturges. “It gives us the opportunity to change our menus on a whim, change a special.”

However, not everything is back to normal for many businesses. Sturges says the concern isn’t limited capacity anymore, but limited staffing.

“We lost some kitchen staff just to people getting out of the industry,” said Sturges. “I know everyone wants to blame it on unemployment and that definitely is a factor, I do know a couple of cooks out there who are willing to come back to work but not until their unemployment runs out, but there’s also that fact of getting out of the industry because it was uncertain.”

The current order requiring masks for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people will stay in place until June 28, or when 70% of Pa. is fully vaccinated, whichever happens first.

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