WASHINGTON, Pa. (WTRF) – As the number of coronavirus cases rise throughout the country, many small businesses are feeling the effects of restriction placed on them by their local and state governments.
Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf recently announced a new round of COVID restrictions that included shutting down indoor dining and on site alcohol consumption.
However, the owner of one long standing Washington, Pennsylvania restaurant defied the Governors orders and opened his doors on Friday.
Angelo’s Restaurant has been a staple in the Washington community for nearly a century.
Third generation owner Michael Passalacqua said the family business has been his passion since he was a child.
It’s my life. It’s everything.Michael Passalacqua, Owner
Passalacqua said there is little evidence to show that indoor dining is a major cause to the spread of COVID-19.
I’m going to say this loudly and you can stat writing the Governor or Secretary Levine, that there is no scientific data or case studies in Pennsylvania in contact tracing on what this industry has done or not done in terms of spreading this disease. There is no evidence. They will tell you that there is, but there is not. The studies that they follow, were done in Texas and Florida in March and April when those two states were running rampant at 100%.Michael Passalacqua, Owner
When doors opened at 11:00 a.m. a steady stream of customers quickly made the dining room.
Some patrons were ask to wait in their car to avoid a crowed lobby.
Passalacqua said the restaurant will follow all CDC guidelines to the letter to ensure everyone’s safety.
He explained customers will be asked to limit their stay. They will also be required to wear masks when not seated at a table.
Staff will be required to wear masks and gloves. The gloves will be changed every fifteen minutes.
The public is clearly on our side. They realize that this has gone too far. Anybody following the recommended CDC guidelines can manage this thing without infecting people and that’s all we are trying to say.Michael Passalacqua, Owner
Passalacqua said he is more than humbled by the show of support his business received from the public. Some of that support comes from right here in the Ohio Valley.
We wanted to come and support his decision because we think it is wrong that the restaurant industry has been targeted as the place to get COVID-19.Lesley Antonik. Owner, Ruttenbucks Bar & Grill
We felt really strongly about coming here to support Mike. The line out the door is a clear indication that we are not alone.Angie Szalay. Owner, 19th Hole
Although Passalacqua does expect some backlash from state and local governments he feels the restaurant will be able to stay opened for the foreseeable future.