Restaurant owners feel like they’re being unfairly attacked in the fight against COVID-19, especially in Monroe County.
That’s why the Pocono hospitality industry held a roundtable discussion today with business owners and legislators.
Restaurant and bar owners don’t know how they’re expected to run their businesses going forward. The governor’s new requirements that are to go into effect on September 21st have only raised more questions.
Questions, concerns and confusion is what restaurant and bar owners brought to the Hospitality Roundtable today at the Shawnee Inn Resort. The goal was to take a bipartisan approach and for local legislators to take their ideas back to the governor.
Manager Steve Ertle of The Lounge at the Baymont Inn says, "We’re just looking for better information, better communication, very important. And we really want to have our voice being heard by the governor and be involved in the process."
Owners are expected to change their business policies and protocols to meet the new state requirements taking effect on September 21st. But they haven’t received any details on what the 50 percent occupancy means. Plus problems need to be addressed when it comes to the 10pm curfew on alcohol sales.
Ertle says, "All that does is create a 9:50 rush to the bar with people buying extra booze and stuff and that can attribute to more DUIs on our streets."
They’re also not seeing the scientific evidence to require more mitigation, especially when other industries aren’t receiving the same treatment.
President Chris Barrett of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau says, "We need some transparency from the administration to find out why we went from 50 to 25 now back to 50, what tripped those decision points."
If this uncertainty continues with the regulations into the fall, we're told not only will a lot of longtime specialty restaurants close but it’s not looking good for the tourism industry.
Barrett says, "If the guest visits us and can’t get that experience or is having a problem getting that experience because it’s just not there, they’re not going to revisit. So that puts at 4.2 billion dollar industry that employs 75 thousand people at significant risk."
The restaurant and bar owners want the opportunity to share their methods with the governor because they’ve been working to limit the spread of COVID-19.