Allegheny County will allow outdoor dining beginning Friday, Rivers Casino allowed to reopen

Allegheny County will allow outdoor dining beginning Friday, Rivers Casino allowed to reopen

Outdoor dining at Allegheny County restaurants and bars will be allowed beginning Friday according to revised covid-19 restrictions issued by the county Health Department.

Also, Rivers Casino will be permitted to reopen.

Indoor dining and alcohol consumption will continue to be banned at restaurants and bars under the new two-week order issued on Wednesday as county officials attempt to stem a spike in covid-19 cases.

Under the order, indoor areas will remain closed to customers except for through traffic. Take-out and delivery sales of food and alcohol may continue.

Outdoor diners must be seated at tables, not at bars. They can order a maximum of three drinks.

Smoking will not be allowed, including e-cigarettes.

Outdoor seating is permitted until 11 p.m.

Establishments offering outdoor dining must continue to follow state guidelines for limiting the spread of covid-19, including social distancing and maximum occupancy limits.

The revised restrictions will replace those that took effect last Friday.

Casino closure rescinded

That means Rivers Casino will be allowed to open.

As with restaurants and bars, it will not be allowed to have indoor dining. Drinking and smoking, including use of e-cigarettes, will be prohibited on the casino floor.

A casino spokesman would not comment Wednesday night on its plans.

2 restaurant owners: No help to them

Joe Kolek, co-owner of the Anchor Inn in Natrona Heights, Harrison, is not impressed by the loosened restrictions.

“I don’t have outdoor seating, so it doesn’t help me,” he said. “It’s very unfair.

“They’re shooting from the hip. They’re making it up as it goes. It’s very frustrating.”

“If people would take 75 or 50% of their revenue … take that away for five months and see how they feel.”

Martina DiBattista, general manager of the Vivo Kitchen restaurant in Sewickley, said the new Allegheny County order wouldn’t be enough for her to reopen outdoor dining.

“I appreciate the gesture, but that’s all this is to us — a gesture,” she said. “It’s not helpful. Turning the light switch on and off is costly.”

Vivo has an outdoor space, but DIBattista did not want to try and rely on weather for reservations and outdoor dining.

“This is Pittsburgh,” she said. “We get that rain out of nowhere sometimes.”

DiBattista also didn’t think the three-drink maximum was feasible.

“The idea of having to police guests in a hospitable environment is not something we’re interested in doing,” she said.

The restaurant will continue to serve takeout food and drinks.

Also under the order, gatherings may not exceed 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors, except for religious purposes.

Allegheny County officials on Wednesday reported 230 new covid-19 cases and two additional deaths, bringing the county totals to 4,209 cases and 196 deaths.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news. Staff writer Teghan Simonton and Assistant News Editor Ben Schmitt contributed to this report.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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