ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – No mask, no distance and no capacity limit. COVID-19 restrictions in the city and county of Saint-Louis officially belong to the business owners themselves.
The announcement was made on Friday at a joint press conference. Now restaurants are scrambling to make changes for the first weekend on the way back to normal. Cafe Napoli in Clayton is one of the many restaurants that choose to return to a pre-pandemic experience.
St. Louis city and county leaders announced new health care orders on Friday following new CDC guidelines on masks.
âWe were told to get the shot if we wanted to be off the mask, so my staff came out and got the shot. It’s really nice to see everyone’s faces again,â said co-owner Ande Pietoso.
Pietoso and his staff have made the decision to forgo masks and distancing, which includes waiters. They’re back at full capacity on their patio, but indoors they’re still below 100%.
âI have five tables in my dining room, not because I can’t have any due to restrictions, but because I don’t have the staff,â Pietoso explained.
Pietoso says hiring staff has been his biggest challenge, aside from county guidelines. After just a day with no restrictions, says Pietoso, he is already seeing a positive impact on his business.
âLast night our two county restaurants did better numbers than we’ve had in 15 months. They always send the numbers to me at the end of the night, and to wake up this morning and see it was like on Christmas morning, âsaid Pietoso.
On the other end of the spectrum, many county and city restaurants choose to keep restrictions and other guidelines in place. The Second Shift Brewery at The Hill is one of them. Co-owner and general manager Libby Crider told News masks and distancing are still needed inside the brewery. Tables are always spaced at 50% of their capacity.
“We’re pretty loud about our position, so if you’re coming here, you probably have a pretty good idea of ââwhat we’re going to ask of you,” Crider explained.
Crider says she wants to remain cautious as the city passes previous COVID-19 restrictions. She says in order for her to change the capacity limits of the Second Shift Brewery, the vaccination rates must change.
“A vaccination rate of fifty percent or more in the city would make me much more comfortable with increasing our capacity in the tasting room. I think it is fair whether either of the two people are vaccinated and this will help keep everyone safe, âCrider explained. .
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