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Capacity cap on public places harms local restaurants

Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 23:34:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. — All public places must obey a cap on capacity. As of 5 p.m. Friday, all New York State restaurants and bars are required to seat at half capacity, with no more than 250 people in the establishment. It's an effort to create more distance between people.

One of Buffalo's most popular spots, Chef's, said it's seen a decline in business the past three days.

"If it goes on for weeks then we're really going to start hurting," said Manager Jim Breier.

The restaurant started cutting back staff on Friday due to the capacity cap. Breier hopes the restaurant will be able to reach that half capacity number of customers.

Canceling of sporting events and gatherings of more than 500 people are having a riple effect on the catering side. Kim Hammerl is the owner of Local Grille and caters events. She said she's had six cancellations in the last few days,

"Cancellations started coming on Thursday, we got cancellations more because, not the people aren't getting nervous or scared, it's the events are actually being canceled," she said.

She said they are already making adjustments to prevent revenue loss.

"We are operating in a little bit of a different manner, the catering more than the restaurant, only because we do prep stuff 24 hours in advance," she said. "We get things ready, we do ordering, we're limiting that time to make it a little bit shorter of a time."

Hammerl said the industry takes hygeine precautions seriously everyday. Chef's said it usually cleans menu's twice a day, but now they're getting cleaned throughout the day. JT's in Buffalo has one time use menus and special cards.

Many restaurants are emphasizing take out as an alternative.

There are no known cases of Coronavirus in Erie County.