BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Speculation continues to simmer that new shutdown orders could be coming for restaurants and other businesses in Pennsylvania.
It’s no secret coronavirus numbers are soaring, and the governor, who just tested positive for COVID-19, hinted earlier this week that there could be a need for new restrictions.
With the threat of reverting back to more strict mandates, businesses are bracing for impact.
“It’s difficult for us to be on board with the plan that just completely disregards us and our families and our employees and our businesses,” said Jordan Serulneck, who owns Seven Sirens Brewing Company.
The Bethlehem restaurant stayed open on Thanksgiving eve despite the state health department ordering all bars and restaurants to close at 5 p.m. Serulneck says they just couldn’t do it.
“We knew that that was just the first of many things to come,” Serulneck said.
He says they’ve sought legal counsel and spoke with city officials.
It was decided Seven Sirens will stay open and will not comply should there be another mandated shutdown.
“For us, it’s literally between becoming homeless or sustaining the proven safe measures that we’ve had implemented for months now,” Serulneck said.
Not all restaurants are taking this approach, of course. Youell’s Oyster House in Allentown, for instance, tells us that they’ll comply with any future shutdown mandates because they can’t risk antagonizing the authorities and losing their licenses.
Seven Sirens posted their intention to defy future shutdown orders on Facebook.
An attorney who represents restaurants in the area says posting defiance on social media isn’t a good idea, though he says he hasn’t seen many who do that face penalties.
The Wolf administration’s website says, regarding existing mitigation orders, that citations are possible for violators.
A House Republican leader is preemptively urging Wolf not to enact new business shutdowns, a sentiment Serulneck would surely agree with.
“We want to be in this together with everyone. This isn’t some act of defiance or rebellion this is us doing what we have to do for our families,” Serulneck said.