NEWTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement Tuesday that most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in the commonwealth on Memorial Day comes at a time when many businesses are still trying to adjust to the new normal. The reaction was mixed Tuesday at Isaac Newton’s Bar & Restaurant, a popular local gathering spot in Newtown.
While business operators are glad to able to return to full capacity, they caution it is still going to take some time for both operations and perhaps, more importantly, the mindset of life pre-COVID.READ MORE: Philadelphia Chef Eli Kulp Finds New Mission After Being Paralyzed In Amtrak Crash, Battle With Depression
“The restrictions were really tough,” Barre3 Newtown studio owner Lauren Ziel said.
Business owners are breathing a sigh of relief with news of most COVID capacity restrictions easing in Pennsylvania, effective Memorial Day.
“It feels great because I didn’t think it would happen until the middle of June anyway,” Timothy Gannon, manager at Isaac Newton’s, said.
But for many small shops, every day is a struggle to stay open.
“For the last nine months, I’ve been at 50% revenue, but my rent is still up, my overhead costs are 100%,” Gannon said.READ MORE: Philadelphia Shooting Homicides Up 40% From 2020 After 7 Killed In Violent Mother's Day Weekend
Questions loom about what reopening actually looks like.
“They were very specific when they came down with mandates, pulling things back, but they are not being specific when they are taking away,” Gannon said.
Operators caution just because the governor says go normal takes time.
“We’ve already seen where up to 75%, you’re not necessarily getting 75% of people back,” Gannon said. “We’re still probably at about 60%.”
“I have clients that won’t come back because we have been mandated to wear masks inside,” Ziel said. “I have clients that won’t come back if we’re not wearing masks inside, so everybody is going in different directions.”
One thing everyone agrees on, there will still be a need for state and federal aid for small businesses and restaurants well into the summer months, something they say will help them with staffing, cleaning protocols, and marketing to get customers back.MORE NEWS: United States FDA Authorizes Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine For Use In Children Ages 12-15
CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.