Here are five top state COVID mandates for restaurants: Limit indoor capacity to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees; limit outdoor capacity to the number of tables that can be safely and appropriately arranged, such that each table is a minimum of 6 feet away from another; all indoor and outdoor tables with seating for customers must be separated by a minimum of 6 feet in all directions; regardless of physical distance, employees must wear an acceptable face covering at all times; patrons must wear face coverings at all times, except while seated.

As cooler weather begins to set in, restaurants that have been using outdoor dining in the midst of COVID-19 will face a new challenge — the autumn chill and winter’s cold.

Owners of Catskill and Hudson restaurants operating under limited capacity for indoor dining this spring and summer successfully made up for lost seating by expanding outdoor seating into parking spaces on Warren Street and Main Street.

Now, as summer wanes, the question is what happens to those extra tables and chairs when cold weather sets in?

Restaurants are high-volume businesses. The more customers they serve, the more meals they serve, the more profitable they are. So it won’t be long before the outdoor tables are brought inside and owners will cope with a return to restricted in-house dining.

Their bottom line will be hurt, not necessarily by COVID-19, but by the change of season and state mandates. Sadly, we may be forced to make the choice we were warned about six months ago — the choice of saving lives or saving livelihoods.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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