HORSHAM, Pa. (CBS) — Changing rules are leading to frustration among bar and restaurant owners in Pennsylvania. They say they are simply trying to stay afloat in this difficult time.
With the back and forth, suburban restauranteurs say they simply will not be able to survive the pandemic. They want Gov. Tom Wolf to set clear guidelines and stick to them.
“If it’s a couple that lives together, you’re allowed to sit together,” said Phil Catagnus, owner of Double Visions.
While trying to keep up with mandates, Catagnus recently invested in plastic sheeting throughout his Horsham Bar. However, his frustration continues to grow as state rules change sporadically.
“I wouldn’t mind losing my business if it was my fault but this is not my fault. And I feel that I’m gonna be losing my business if this continues,” he said.
More than 100 other owners shared the same sentiment gathered in front of Na Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse on Thursday.
“We can’t survive this way, plain and simple,” Na Brasa owner Rui Lucas said.
Wolf sent owners into a frenzy after announcing indoor dining will be cut to 25% capacity after only weeks of opening at 50%.
“Twenty-five is as close to saying you are closing your restaurant as you can possibly get. It’s not even worth paying the staff at that point. You’re not going to make enough revenue. You’re not going to be able to function,” said Melissa Bova, vice president of government affairs for Pennsylvania Restaurant Lodging Association.
At this point, bar and restaurant owners say they need cash assistance in order to stay afloat. State officials say bills are being put forward in the House and Senate — $250 million specifically for restaurants and bars.
Meanwhile, Lucas says the governor can’t continue to punish the food industry for the actions of those not following guidelines.
“You can’t run a state or any type of society that way, because of one or two people, or because of a few people, you can’t the whole system down. It just doesn’t work that way,” Lucas said.
One thing the business owners decided on before leaving Thursday was starting a petition. With enough signatures, they’re hoping to effect change in order to run their businesses accordingly.