PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As we count down to 2022, we’re also counting a record number of COVID cases fueled by the omicron variant. In Philadelphia, celebrating safely means tough choices for bars and restaurants.
The Department of Health says Philadelphia is averaging nearly 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day. This surge is impacting restaurants during one of their busiest times of the year.READ MORE: Social Media Photo Of Student With BB Gun Led To Academy Park High School Lockdown, Delaware County DA Says
With only one day left until the new year, many Philadelphians are enjoying these last days by dining in at their favorite restaurants; many of which have begun shutting down and making tough calls, thanks to a spike in cases.
“I think that COVID’s definitely making some impacts on businesses and restaurants this year with the omicron variant,” one man said.
In bustling Rittenhouse Square, the manager at Rouge says Thursday morning she was short-staffed, having only two servers. And right down the street, Parc closed its doors Monday and Tuesday out of an “abundance of caution.”
“I walked by and saw it was dead and usually there’s like a ton of people, kind of like today, so it was surprising to see it closed down,” a man said.
At Jerry’s Bar in Northern Liberties, the shutdown was more severe. The business posted on Instagram that with a “heavy heart we decided to temporarily close our doors until after the new year.”READ MORE: Hacker Stole Jefferson Health Patients' Billing Information In November Data Breach
Others, like Hook & Master, have shifted to takeout orders only.
“The sense of making decisions as we go every day, like what is safe, what is not, who’s too much,” said Rosemary Greenwood, who is visiting the city for the holiday. “It is daunting to try to figure it out.”
These decisions have a bigger impact on some than others.
At Korshak Bagels in South Philadelphia, workers started a fundraiser citing the eventuality of another shutdown. The bakery was forced to close its doors the weekend of Christmas after an employee tested positive. They fear they might not make it a second time.
Eyewitness News asked patrons if they see a better 2022.
“You gotta have hope,” one man said.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Postponing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For City Workers Again
Starting Jan. 3, Philadelphia will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to dine indoors. Officials say the more people get vaccinated, the more we can slow the spread.