Coronavirus is taking a toll on Pittsburgh businesses
PITTSBURGH, PA — Nick Bogacz isn’t worried about his award-winning pizzeria chain getting by during the state’s latest coronavirus mitigation measures that will ban indoor dining in restaurants for three weeks.
He’s worried about his employees.
“I feel horrible for our bartenders and servers,” said Bogacz, owner of Caliente Pizza and Draft House locations in Bloomfield, Aspinwall, Monroeville, Hampton, and Mt. Lebanon.
“They were counting on tips for Christmas,” Bogacz said. “That’s how they make their living, that’s how they survive…it’s not just the financial aspect, it’s the mental anguish as well.”
Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced several temporary coronavirus mitigation restrictions, including closing indoor dining and gyms, limiting gatherings, and suspending youth sports. The measures are aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus in high-risk settings, officials said.
The restrictions begin Saturday and will begin Saturday and will be in effect until Jan. 4.
Bill Fuller is president of the Pittsburgh-based Big Burrito Restaurant Group. The company operates the Mad Mex chain as well as Alta Via in Fox Chapel, Eleven and Kaya in the Strip District, Casbah in East Liberty, and Soba and Umi, both in Shadyside.
As he prepared once again to switch the company’s restaurants back to takeout and delivery-only modes on Friday, Fuller echoed Bogacz’s sentiments. “A lot of people are going to lose a lot of wages right before Christmas,” he said.
“We will lose a lot of business during what is usually a very busy time. Cooks will lose a lot of hours. Servers will lose their tips,” he said. “Hopefully, the governor keeps his word and reopens us (for sit-down dining) on Jan. 4.”