PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered unprecedented measures in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Those measures are taking their toll on nonessential businesses.
Earlier in the day, there was activity in and outside of restaurants, but sitting down for a meal is no longer on the menu.
“Effective at midnight all nonessential stores are to close in Pennsylvania, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.
“I’ve got 40 employees. I’m laying 95% of them off tonight,” Angelo Lutz said.
It’s a heartbreaking reality for Lutz, who is the owner of the Kitchen Consigliere Cafe in Collingswood, New Jersey.
Lutz says extreme cleaning, safety measures and social spacing had already been implemented for the protection of his staff and customers.
“They want us to do takeout and delivery only. Well in my restaurant, takeout is like .5% of my business. We hardly ever do it,” he said.
The essential private businesses that can remain open and unchanged are gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores, where Lutz feels risk for COVID-19 spread is more likely.
“Think about it, someone could be infected. They could go to the supermarket, touch all the bananas, the peppers,” Lutz said.
But officials say by at least limiting potentially crowded areas, the curve of spread can be reduced.
“We need to eliminate as many physical contacts as we can,” Wolf said Monday.
It’s still unclear how the closure of dine-in services will be enforced.
As of right now, there is no federal order banning people from sitting down at a restaurant but President Donald Trump said Monday afternoon it’s not a good idea.
“Right now we don’t have an order one way or the other. We don’t have an order but I think it’s probably better that you don’t,” Trump said.
Lutz tells Eyewitness News that he does hope people will order takeout from him and we also asked if customers purchasing gift cards would help.
He said while they do help, restaurant owners have to consider gift certificates like a loan that will have to be repaid to customers with service at a later date.