PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Friday morning is a big day for a lot of businesses in the region as they will unlock their doors and allow customers back inside.
Some of these businesses have been closed for nearly three months, so it comes as a welcomed relief.
Restaurants, coffee shops, and salons are all now open but with some restrictions in place.
On Pittsburgh’s South Side, there were signs of life and activity as business owners prepared for the beginning of the green phase.
Frank Vitale, the owner of Cucina Vitale an Italian restaurant on East Carson Street, was among those preparing.
“It’s a big difference, we have a close-knit group here,” he said. “It’s just an overall home feeling, a lot of places don’t have that anymore. We have to follow all of the guidelines, I’m always up for a challenge. It’s also a learning phase.”
That learning phase begins on Friday for Frank and other business owners and customers.
Vitale says that he’s already received calls for reservations this weekend but he will still continue offering take-out.
At Cup-Ka-Joe’s, employees say seeing customers sitting inside, sipping coffee, or enjoying a sandwich will be exciting.
“It’s been hard in the red phase because our business has been super slow, yellow got a lot better,” said Jenna Vojtecki, an employee at Cup-Ka-Joe’s. “People were like ‘okay, we’ll come out, we’ll get more people.’ Once we started getting nice weather, being able to open the door, then we just got a lot more people coming in so that was nice.”
They’re hoping those increases continue as Allegheny County moves into the green phase.
Cup-Ka-Joe’s maximum capacity is 36 but in the green phase, businesses are only allowed to seat half capacity, which for Cupka Joe’s is 18.
They plan to rearrange tables and chairs in order to meet that guideline and make sure they are at least six feet apart.
The South Side has dozens of independently owned restaurants and shops, along with a few gyms.
With the move to green, activity is expected to increase.