But bars and restaurants that depend on packed indoor dining and concert halls with dance floors? Most are attractive for exactly the reasons that make them such petri dishes for the coronavirus — the crowding, the drinking, the carousing with new, different people.
That’s why some bar and restaurant owners say they would welcome a program that compensated them to shut their doors this winter. Peter Kurzweg, who co-owns three of what he calls “drink forward” establishments in Pittsburgh that used to have bustling happy hours, says that “bars and restaurants are unique in that to be really safe, they have to mitigate to a point that it’s not a bar or restaurant experience anymore.”
He and his partners have so far weathered the pandemic with outdoor seating on the sidewalk and in an alley. They have taken advantage of government loan programs. They have invested in tents and heaters, and encouraged patrons to “lean in” to having fun outside. But as fall turns to winter in Pittsburgh, he knows it won’t last. “I walk around saying, ‘Winter is coming, winter is coming.’ We need to do everything we can to survive.”