Restaurants calling for outdoor dining in phase two of reopening

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Restaurants are calling on the state to allow out door dining in the next reopening phase. This is the latest cry for help from an industry that is already struggling from the devastating business impacts of COVID-19.

Peter Jines, owner of Jines Restaurant, says 75% of his business is in house dining and even with steady take out orders, the restaurant is struggling to stay afloat.

“Is it enough to really survive, no it’s really not, not at all, not even close,” Jines said.

Jines, like many other restaurants in the state, are looking for ways to get some of that business back. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put restaurants in phase three, but many are reaching out to the local chapter of the State Restaurant Association wanting help now. 

“We’re in phase three, we don’t know how long it’s gonna take to get there and we don’t know what phase three is actually going to look like for restaurants, what kind of capacity we’ll be at,” said Kelly Bush, chapter president of NY State Restaurant Association.

The New York State Restaurant Association is hoping for out dining for restaurants in phase two. The association released this statement;

“As parts of the state have begun the reopening process and other regions are progressing towards that goal, the New York State Restaurant Association is urging the state to allow restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining during phase two. Just this week, outdoor dining was included in phase one in Connecticut’s reopening. Additionally, we are formally asking for expanded outdoor dining capabilities, an emphasis on social distancing requirements over capacity limits and allowing continued sales of alcohol to-go. Just about every restaurant in the state is teetering on the edge of financial hardship, and we need to do everything possible to keep them afloat.” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.

“To do our part, NYSRA, our members and all restaurants in the state will continue to follow stringent sanitation practices to ensure the safety of our patrons and staff. That’s the promise that we’re making to our guests, who we can’t wait to serve again.” said Fleischut.

Jines has 40 seats for their outdoor area. If allowed to open outside, the dining experience at Jines would take into consideration social distancing.

“We expect to have a reduced number of seats than what we originally had. But A, if we can do something outside sooner, anything would be better than nothing,” said Jines.

Many other business along Park Avenue also rely on outdoor seating for business and owners want to see it open sooner rather than later to help them get back on track financially.

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