Philadelphia businesses prepping for return of indoor dining Tuesday

Katie Katro Image
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Indoor dining can resume in Philadelphia
You can dine once again inside Philadelphia restaurants but with restrictions.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia restaurants are doing their final safety and health checks before indoor dining can resume Tuesday.

At Paddy Whacks Irish Sports Pub on South Street, many people are dining out as they've extended their space for the summer. But starting Tuesday, they'll be able to seat guests inside, as indoor dining will be allowed in Philadelphia at 25% capacity.

"It is frustrating because you want your people to be in and have the full experience. It's a little downer to have everyone outside, but they'll be back," said Joe Ferretti, a bartender at Paddy Whacks.

While Tuesday everyone will be back, preparations were underway on Monday to put up shields and socially distance tables.

INDOOR DINING: Philadelphia restaurants are doing their final safety and health checks before indoor dining can resume Tuesday.

"We do wish we had today instead of tomorrow, so we could get the holiday in," said Ferretti.

In Old City, Erik Travers, the general manager of Red Owl Tavern, said he wasn't able to seat all customers immediately for the holiday since he was only limited to outdoor seating, as well. On Monday, he was focusing on putting up shields by the bar and separating tables, six feet apart, hoping he'll be able to seat more people as we progress into the fall season.

"The virus doesn't see occupancy, it doesn't see percentages, it sees six feet and shields. And if we can do shields and if we can do shields and barriers, then I think we should be able to do more than 25%," said Travers.

Many people Action News spoke with said it's about time indoor dining opened in Philadelphia, especially given the hot and rainy summer.

"This would be actually great, something to look forward to, positive, we need that right now," said Julissa Lopez, from Olney.

A lot of foodservice workers are hoping more diners means more wait staff jobs could be brought back, as even those currently working said they are struggling financially.

"It definitely does hurt because I got to pay my rent too, but the 25%, hopefully, people are in the building and tip a little gracious," said Ferretti.

Below are the indoor dining restrictions released by city officials:

-Restaurants cannot be filled to more than 25 percent capacity.

-No more than four diners per table.

-Tables must be arranged so that diners at separate tables are at least six feet apart or have an impermeable barrier between them.

-Servers must wear both masks and face shields for additional protection.

-No bar service. Alcohol can be served only for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

-Last call for all indoor dining orders will be at 11 p.m. and establishments will be required to be closed for service by midnight.

-Restaurants must install physical barriers such as sneeze guards or partitions in restaurant kitchens and at cash registers, host stands, and food pick up areas where maintaining physical distance of at least six feet is difficult.

-Restaurants must screen every employee for symptoms before every shift and prevent them from remaining on-site if they have cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell.