Bar, restaurant and business owners continue to grapple with the economic problems that stem from COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions.
After dining-in at restaurants was permitted again, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf created restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses by only seating people indoors at up to 25% of its capacity.
However, Wolf announced that beginning Sept. 21 restaurants may increase indoor capacity to 50%, a 25% increase. According to Wolf, restaurants must complete the online self-certification process by Oct. 5 to increase their capacity.
“Social distancing, masking and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons. Further, starting Sept. 21 restaurants that have alcohol sales will close alcohol sales at 10 p.m.,” the press release said.
Many college students believe the ceasing of the alcohol sales at 10 p.m. is a loss of what little remains of an average student experience.
It is important to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. We do not want to see our community members sick, but is closing bar sales at a relatively early time restricting the college student experience?
In a college town, such as Shippensburg, students will go out to bars like Wibs, and restaurants like University Grille and Arooga’s to unwind.
An average college student going out for drinks and hanging out off-campus is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be better to do so in a restaurant where they are monitored and guidelines are enforced?
By forcing local restaurants to stop selling alcohol after 10 p.m., officials cannot be surprised when there are more parties in the homes and rentals of college students. Restricting alcohol sales only impacts the businesses — it will simply drive students seeking somewhere to unwind to unmonitored homes.
These decisions are detrimental to local economies. Downtown Shippensburg businesses rely on the money students and their families bring to the area. Without football games, H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center shows or any major events, these businesses must make up lost income somehow.
As long as the capacity rate for the indoor businesses stands and the proper social distancing is maintained, exposure will be mitigated.