By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — All of us have felt the impact of the pandemic one way or another. Either you got the virus, or likely know someone who did. You may have been laid off or you’re working around the clock to keep your businesses going no matter the restrictions.

On Friday night, there is some hope for restaurants in Philadelphia. Some restaurant owners shared their harsh futures with Eyewitness News if indoor dining doesn’t resume next weekend.

You first met Mixto Restaurante owner Mercy Mosquera back in September as she prepared for indoor dining to resume in Philadelphia. That was short-lived, and now, at her sister location Tierra Columbiana in North Philadelphia, it’s déjà vu all over again.

“The six feet distance, protecting our employees,” Mosquera said.

City officials say they will allow limited indoor dining starting on Jan. 16. This comes after the latest ban went into effect last November.

“We are hoping this time they are very serious,” Mosquera said, “and they really think about the businesses. We need to be open. We have to open as soon as possible.”

And if there is a delay — city officials say there could be if COVID-19 cases spike again — Mosquera may have to take drastic measures.

“If we don’t open in the next two weeks, unfortunately, I think we are going to have the make the decision to close one of our businesses too,” Mosquera said.

Across town at Craft Hall, one of the largest indoor restaurants in the city, Neina Langford, the director of marketing, says her staff planned to open the day before the last shutdown.

“We didn’t even bother moving the tables or chairs,” Langford said.

So her restaurant is ready and set and her employees are on standby with everyone’s fingers crossed that next week will end the final ban on indoor dining in Philadelphia.

“We’re excited to have customers come in,” Langford said. “We’re just anxious to see what’s happening next because if there is one thing we’ve learned, you really can’t predict what’s going to happen next, but with the vaccine, we hope that the end is near.”

Mayor Jim Kenney says city officials will hold a press conference next Tuesday with details about allowing indoor dining to resume. He says the plans could be scrapped, however, if COVID-19 cases spike again in Philadelphia.


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