Local restaurants worried about possible move to 25% indoor capacity during winter months


FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — In his briefing on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said if a region’s hospitalization rate has not stabilized after five days, indoor dining will go from 50% to 25%.

Indoor dining would fully close in New York City. The Finger Lakes region had the highest hospitalization rate, per regional population, in the state as of Monday, at .05%.

McArdle’s in Fairport is one of many restaurants bracing for the possible change. It is still only in the yellow zone meaning it’s been able to continue indoor dining at 50%. Owner John Albert said it’s been tough and 25% would be even tougher.

“As indoor dining is limited we’re gonna lose some really great restaurants and that’s really sad,” Albert said.

25% capacity at McArdle’s would only be 30 people.

“We had a feeling that something was going to happen sooner or later I can tell you running a restaurant at 25% capacity is a losing proposition for the restaurant,” he said. “When the weather turned business dropped dramatically, and I mean dramatically.”

Governor Cuomo said his new indoor dining guidance is due to a new CDC study. The study says indoor venues where people can’t socially distance and wear a mask at all times are considered high-risk scenarios. The CDC specifically cites indoor dining at restaurants. It says to reduce risk restaurants can offer take out, well-ventilated outdoor dining, and limit capacity.

Albert said he has a heated patio and some people have still been eating outside.

“We had people out the other day it was probably low to mid 30s and we were able to keep them comfortable.”

Albert said while business is down overall takeout is picking up and he’s still able to pay his employees.

“People’s livelihoods depend on us being here and if the Governor and the government say it’s safe for us to be here in some limited capacity.”

Albert said aid from the government is what restaurants like his need to stay alive during this spike and the cold weather.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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