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Rizzo’s Dealing with Mandate

December is a huge month for Rizzo’s Restaurant in Windber, with families and friends traditionally dining inside for the Holidays and New Year’s Eve.

“Normally, it’s so busy here that you can’t even move,” said manager Danette Chippie.

But due to new COVID-19 mitigation efforts announced Thursday, those traditions won’t be happening this year.

The restrictions include prohibiting bars and restaurants from providing indoor dining services over the next three weeks.

Chippie says they’ll be relying on take out, delivery, and gift certificate sales to get them through this time.

“We’re mostly concerned about our employees. We have 19 tipped staff employees here that depend on customers in our building that get them through, that help pay their bills, that will provide for their Christmas,” she said.

Rizzo’s is part of a long list of small businesses and restaurants that will be taking yet another financial hit from the pandemic.

Governor Wolf said in a press conference Thursday, “Unfortunately, COVID-19 – that virus – thrives in places where people gather together. It spreads most easily when people are spending time together talking with each other, talking without masks on, and these are the same conditions we find in restaurants and bars,” he said.

Danette says she hopes everyone can come together during the holidays – maybe not in person – but with delivery and take out to support local restaurants.

“We continue to hope that all of our loyal customers, and our family, and our friends will continue to support us, because it’s not just the business itself, but again, it’s our employees that are depending on that support,” she said.

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