Restaurant Association announces drive aimed at modifying 30% occupancy limit

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The Delaware Restaurant Association has launcheda campaign to overturn a 30 percent restriction on indoor restaurant seating. The emergency order from Gov. John Carney reduces seating capacity from 50 percent and takes effect on Monday.

The campaign asks restaurants owner to pass along the impact of the restriction on public officials.

“The rise in Covid-19 cases across the state are well documented and are coming from unregulated indoor gatherings and not restaurants,” the petition states. “Although we continue to support action to protect the health of all Delawareans, we believe there is an unfounded impression that restaurants are part of the problem. As a result, restaurants have become the ultimate scapegoat, and our workforce and businesses are at risk–they will severely suffer from these inconsistent and restrictive mandates not applied to other industries.”

State Public Health officials have cited contact tracing interviews that indicate restaurants were the most visited venue for individuals testing positive for the virus.

The Restaurant Association said the information is flawed since retail stores are not on the venue list and private parties have long been cited as a major source of infections.

Public health officials have also pointed to larger parties in restaurants as one of the links to infections.

Worldwide, restaurants have long been viewed as vulnerable locations when it comes to the spread of Covid-19. Masks are taken off at the table, and patrons at the same table are close to one another for an extended period.

Keeping tables six feet apart often leads to occupancy limits below 50 percent, with the 30 percent leading to even fewer tables. The state has allowed modifications, such as plexiglass between booths.

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