W.Va. business owners react to lifted capacity restriction

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 11:36 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After roughly a year of shutdowns and capacity limitations, business owners in West Virginia are finally able to go back to full capacity while also allowing for social distancing.

“Full capacity to us means we can bring up more tables and chairs,” said Deno Stanley, owner of Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille on Capitol Street. But more importantly, (it) means we can staff and employ more people and start to get things economically moving where we need to get them to.”

On Friday, Gov. Jim Justice signed Executive Order 8-21, which increases the capacity limit for all restaurants and bars to 100% of their seating capacity -- up from the previously increased capacity limit of 75% that was in place for the past two weeks.

Justice said social distancing must still be maintained at all establishments. He also added that the mask mandate is still very much in effect.

Shane Saunders owns Hale House on Hale Street in Charleston. He said he is going to keep the capacity the way it is now and not go full capacity -- not quite yet.

“We’ll keep it the way it is right now. We’re not quite at full capacity, we’re fairly close,” Saunders said. “I think people need to still feel comfortable, we’ll still follow all the guidelines, we’ll wear masks, we’ll still sanitize, clean, hand sanitizer so we’ll play it by ear for now.”

Saunders said he feels this move is a step in the right direction and with vaccines in the picture, it’s coming at a perfect time.

“We all survive by our customers and without customers, it’s hard to pay the bills,” Saunders told WSAZ. “So again, I think it’s time.”

Chris Adkins owns The Bucket restaurant and bar in Dunbar. He said he plans to take it day-by-day, rather than opening everything up all at once.

“We’re all extremely excited to see, as our customers are, we’re excited to get back to normal,” he said. “I’m keeping everything spaced to where people can still practice their social distancing while we’re still kind of inching over to 100 percent capacity. Just trying to keep everybody safe and do the right things.”

“We’re going to tread lightly into this but as long as we’re moving in the right direction and the numbers keep staying positive, in the negative direction, we’re happy with where we’re getting to,” Stanley said.

The change goes into effect at midnight Saturday.

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