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Fans back in stadium seats, not restaurant seats

Posted at 12:09 AM, Dec 31, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks, restaurant owners and their staff listen.

They were listening Wednesday when Cuomo announced fans could attend the Buffalo Bills first home playoff game.

“We’re just as happy as everybody out there that watching our bills for the first time in 25 years to be in the playoffs at home,” said Greg Duell, the co-owner of Duff’s at the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence.

Restaurant owners and their staff were hoping to hear more about when restaurants in the orange zone of Erie County could open for indoor dining again. The state's data shows less than 2% of COVID-19 cases have come from restaurants and bars.

“Employees were disappointed, I can tell you that much,” said Duell. “I do think it's a step in the right direction. I think the governor starting to realize and recognize that things can be done safely.”

If places are allowed to serve diners in a limited capacity, restaurant workers can start getting their jobs back.

“We usually have 160 to 170 people,” said Paul Santora the owner of Santora’s Pizza Pub and Grill. “Between the two locations, right now, we probably have 25.”

“I have a bartender who just had a baby she wants to know that she can come back to a job. And I have I have a kitchen manager who has three children and his wife doesn't work he needs to work, too,” added Duell.

With NFL playoffs fast approaching, the owners of Santora's and Duff’s hope they can serve people safely, and not have customers drive a few miles down the road, out of the orange zone, for a similar experience.