PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You can go back to your favorite table at your favorite Philadelphia restaurant. Starting today, indoor dining is back, but there are a few restrictions. Capacity is limited to 25%. Some in the restaurant industry are hopeful this is the start of an eventual return to normalcy.
“No one’s really asked restaurant owners what we think about it so we’re kind of just reacting and it is what it is,” Anthony Notafranceso said.READ MORE: Fire Damages Rowhome In Philadelphia's Logan Neighborhood
Notarfranceso owns South House on South 13th Street.
“I think since indoor dining in November is probably the last time I made an actual cocktail,” Notarfranceso said.
Now that restaurants can return to 25% indoor capacity beginning Saturday in Philadelphia it’s time to shake it up.
“Obviously the first time in March, nobody one knew what was going on. It was a lot more scary. And then in September when we opened, it was like still a little bit scary but we had at least a gameplan and we had time to think it through. Now at this point, we’re just hoping it works,” Notarfranceso said.
Places like the Better Box say they’re actually more hopeful heading into this latest iteration of indoor dining because, to them, it signifies what could be the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
“We’re excited to be opening up again,” Better Box manager Chenele Shaw said. “With coronavirus, we’re trying to be cautious so it’s a mixed bag.”
While the chairs are up, for now, people come to Better Box for the Philly cheese egg roll and the General Tso chicken cheesesteak.
“Our egg rolls are like an eat immediately thing,” Shaw said.READ MORE: Delaware County Mother Shares New Normal Of Pandemic Learning With Special-Needs Child
But you gotta get people through the door if they’re not internet savvy.
“We’re more hopeful that we can stay open longer and that we can have our client base that’s maybe not familiar with the online aspect be more present here,” Shaw said.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley says rolling back these restrictions is meant to better help the economy but that his department could reverse course again if COVID-19 numbers spike.
Restaurants elsewhere in the state were allowed to resume indoor dining over a week and a half ago. On Friday, Philadelphia announced 630 new cases of coronavirus while Pennsylvania recorded over 6,000 new cases.
Indoor catered events and indoor social gatherings are still forbidden.
CBS3’s Dan Koob and Howard Monroe contributed to this report.
MORE ON CBSPHILLY.COMPenn-Delco School District Approves Diversity Committee After Sparking Controversy With Board Member