Subdued reaction to new lenient COVID guidelines for restaurants

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Restaurant and bar owners were low-key over the new COVID health guidelines in St. Louis City and County. Some establishments can stay open later and at full capacity. The businesses still have many hurdles before normalcy returns.

At Mike Duffy’s, manager Paul Duffy believes the pandemic changed the way customers now live their lives.

“People’s habits have changed,” he said. “They’re not coming out as late.”

Like so many other eateries, Duffy was also having a tough time finding workers. It’s especially difficult when he has to compete with federal government.

“With the federal unemployment money, they actually make more doing that than working,” he said.

Favazza’s Restaurant on The Hill plans to keep the closing time at 9 p.m. even though they could stay open until 1 a.m.

The 100% capacity won’t change the size of the crowd here. Owner John Favazza said the social distancing requirement is still in effect.

“There’s no room in the building (to separate people,” he said.

Favazza welcomed the more-lenient COVID guidelines. He calls it a big step in returning to normalcy.

“I think it’s good. It’s a sign we’re moving in a good direction, we’re really happy about (it) and the public is feeling more secure about going out to dinner,” he said.

At Paddy O’s, which is in the shadow of Busch Stadium, they are going to take advantage of the new hours. They were staying open until midnight but now they’ll be closing at 3 a.m. on certain dates.

“I think we’re going to entertain the idea on Friday and Saturday and then we’ll do a business decline during the week after the games, let people come down and have a good time if it dwindles down,” manager Rob Colie said. “We can do a last call at our leisure.”

One restaurant manager said the key is people feeling safe. When folks feel safe, he said, they will go out to eat more.

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