By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Restaurant and bar owners across Philadelphia are looking at the new coronavirus restrictions with dread. They say their businesses are at risk of going under.

Some of the task forces that link all of these businesses together were briefed about it on Friday. They were asked to keep quiet about it over the weekend.

On Monday morning, as many as 50 restauranteurs met on a Zoom call to discuss their next steps.

Black Taxi Bar server Neil McKernan is braced for yet another rough patch, with a bad taste in his mouth.

“Frustrated is the word,” McKernan said.

Fear of the unknown weighs heaviest for thousands of employees in Philadelphia’s hospitality industry as the city just served up another menu of tough restrictions.

“Who knows what they’re going to do? It just seems to be the restaurants and bars that just kept getting shutdown and other places are allowed to stay open. It’s just an unknown for everybody,” McKernan said.

Kite and Key co-owner Jim Kirk says his establishment barely weathered city-ordered shutdowns in the spring.

“It’s devastating to the industry as a whole, not just the restaurant industry. I’m talking about all the little ma-and-pa shops down in Center City or at a mall. It’s gonna devastate all the small businesses,” Kirk said.

For hotels, Ed Grose with the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, says he expects some will be forced to suspend operations, furloughing scores of employees. He became upset talking about the prospect.

“We can’t keep this going, we just can’t. This is a fragile industry to begin with,” Grose said. “These statistics mean jobs, they mean hardship, and it’s awful for a lot of people right now.”

Lots of restaurant and bar owners are wondering how enforcement will take place.


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