Indoor dining capacity increased but for small restaurants it doesn’t help

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The restaurant industry is still struggling to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions, and while the capacity limitations for indoor dining have increased, some restaurants owners are saying it doesn’t help them at all. 

Small restaurants like Ristorante Lucano don’t have the space to add more tables and maintain social distancing. The owner Chuck Formoso says it’s been hard to fit customers into their space. 

“The bar is virtually not utilized because we can’t social distance, so you really can’t sit,” said Chuck Formoso, owner of Ristorante Lucano.

Due to the size of the restaurant, only a handful of tables can be setup that would still meet the requirements of 6 feet social distancing. So, even though the capacity limitations for indoor dining was increased from 50% to 75%, Formoso still can not add more tables. 

“Well that’s great for big restaurants cause if you have one that fits 150-200 people and you can still social distance at 75%. Well that’s great, but us as a small restaurant like many of the places in Rochester are, the 75% doesn’t do us any good because we still have to social distance,” said Formoso.

Formoso has nearly ten tables that are siting empty and cannot be added because he doesn’t have the space. He says the social distancing requirements are holding back small restaurants like his. 

“The social distancing, if they made it from 3 to 6 (feet) like they talked about in the schools, I think it would definitely help,” said Formoso.

Along with the capacity increases, Governor Cuomo also announced beginning April 5, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos, and billiards halls will be able to stay open past 11 p.m., however the curfew remains in place for restaurants, bars, and catered events.

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