West Virginia restaurants open to 100% capacity

As of March 6, Governor Justice increased restaurant capacity to 100%. Many restaurant owners are still concerned about the effect his decision could have on their employees and patrons. West Virginia has Phase 2-A in their vaccination schedule and it’s becoming safer for large groups in public. Many small restaurants struggle because of restrictions placed on them in the past year and are excited to return to life before COVID. However, there are still some concerns on how this will affect people who have not yet been vaccinated.

Some restaurants are even not abating by the social distancing. For example, certain restaurants across West Virginia are opening every table instead of having them spaced out. Masks are still required as of now, and they are what is keeping our safety in place. Some customers do, however, think that since restaurants are 100% open, the mask mandate is not in place anymore. For example, I work in a restaurant and for the last few days, I have had more people come in without their masks than ever. This could lead to Covid spreading again and another shut down in the possible future.

Opening restaurants to 100% capacity could be a good step, however. This is really helping those small businesses that had to shut down previously because of COVID. Madelynn Truex, a coworker at the restaurant I am employed at, says that “This is a good and a bad thing. Personally, I have never worked when it was full capacity, and it is very different for me.” Madelynn and I both started our job after COVID hit, and this past week has been a whole different experience for us and many of our other staff. “I think this is good and bad because it feels like things are getting back to normal, but it’s difficult because many restaurants are still under-staffed because of the sudden change.”

It can truly be hard for many employers to quickly find staff. Multiple restaurants, bars and other public places had to limit their staff at the beginning of the pandemic. These employers had to do so that everyone was getting hours and still social distancing. With the Governor making this decision at night, it didn’t give places much time to get ready with a full staff. In my experience, my restaurant is still struggling almost two weeks later to get more staff working each hour to cover the full capacity of our building.

This 100% capacity could be a step in the right direction. This progress shows how vaccines are working and how we could be getting back to normal living very soon. Everyone still needs to abide by the Covid restrictions while visiting places that they may not have been able to go to in a year.

For any questions regarding this article please reach out to Katlyn Roberts at [email protected]