SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – After living and working under difficult restrictions the last year because of COVID-19, business owners in Pennsylvania are looking forward to the end of this month when many of those rules will be lifted.
Workers at Lulu Bean’s Cafe in Sharon have been through the whirlwind. First, losing their dine-in business a year ago because of the pandemic shutdown, and then closing entirely in December only to reopen just a week ago with separated tables and plexiglass.
Now, owners Jenn Krezeczowski and her husband learned this week nearly all of Pennsylvania’s COVID restrictions will be lifted on Memorial Day.
“I think that is going to give people a peace of mind to just feel comfortable to come out, and that’s a big part of our place,” Krezeczowski said.
In Sharpsville, workers at Muscarella’s Cafe say they were busier than ever despite the pandemic and are glad to know the restrictions, except for mask-wearing, will finally be going away.
“A lot of the restrictions seemed odd to us and just didn’t make sense. Getting past those was quite a barrier,” said Jess Koss, a manager at Muscarella’s.
Although the kitchen staff was never laid-off, most of the others were at one point. Since then, managers have made a number of new hires to replace those who never came back.
“We got a little bit of a learning curve just trying to get everybody up to pace and ready for this influx that we are about to see,” Koss said.
Krezeczowski admits hiring has been a struggle.
“Getting people to come back to work has been difficult. Interviews and applicants, just in general, have been a lot lower,” Krezeczowski said.
Still, having the restrictions lifted gives her reason for optimism heading into what she and others hope will be a busy summer.