Some local bar, restaurant owners may defy Gov. Wolf’s mandate and increase capacity

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 has learned that some local bar and restaurant owners may take matters into their own hands, possibly opening and allowing more than 25-percent capacity in their establishments.

The president of the Southwest Pa. Restaurant and Tavern Association, Rodney Ambrogi - who is also the owner of Al’s Cafe in Bethel Park, told Channel 11 the association sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf last week.

The letter asked that the governor loosen some restrictions. As of Wednesday morning, the association hadn’t heard back from him.

If they don’t hear back from him by Aug. 14, according to Ambrogi, members of the association may:

  • Open their bars for direct service again
  • Allow more than 25-percent capacity
  • Enforce the six foot rule to allow more customers inside, while still following other safety guidelines

“Everybody is getting to the point, I’m getting hundreds of calls with everyone getting fed up with it and they are losing their businesses and losing employees,” Ambrogi said.

He went on to tell Channel 11 they are pushed in a corner and are trying to do everything they can to protect their livelihoods and family businesses.

Members of the association are hopeful they’ll hear from Governor Wolf by Friday, but said they are willing to take the risk.