WEST HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The 25% capacity restriction on indoor dining has left many restaurants struggling to get by.
The restrictions are the reason one popular Dauphin County restaurant is closing for good.
Hershey Road Family Restaurant closed because of COVID-19 and only reopened July 6. A week and a half later, the governor’s new orders went into effect, making it unsustainable for the 8-year-old business to continue.
“I’m used to doing 200, 300 people a day. Now I’m doing 30 people a day. 30 people a day you can’t survive,” said Scott Levy, executive chef and owner of Hershey Road Family Restaurant.
Levy says the last few months have been rough.
“I’m watching all the bills pile up. I’ve got a stack of mail like this, bills, I owe people money, I owe paychecks that are out there,” Levy said.
He was hopeful when opening up earlier this month at only 50% capacity.
“Food was always good and it was pretty cheap, wasn’t terribly expensive and I never had a bad meal here,” said customer Corey Parsons.
But when the governor’s order to go down to 25% was announced, “That destroyed people in the mind,” Levy said. “It scared them so much that they just stopped coming in.”
It’s been tough on Levy, but especially on his employees.
“It’s my mortgage. It’s my electric bill. It’s the food for my family,” said server Jimmy Conrad.
“At 50 percent it’s barely sustainable and the only reason why restaurants have had some hope and have been able to get by at 50% is because they’ve embraced things like delivery services, takeout, outdoor dining,” said John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.
According to Yelp, of the restaurants that temporarily closed nationwide, 60% of are now permanently closed.
In Pennsylvania, “If they reclose at 25% which they likely will do because it’s not sustainable and 60% never reopen again, that’s 7,500 restaurants that we’re going to lose,” Longstreet said.
“This was my retirement. This is was what I was basing everything on, so you’ve got to take a deep breath in, but I’m just going to keep on going forward that the glass is half full,” Levy said.
The doors will be locked for the last time Friday at 8 p.m.
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