No dine-in at restaurants starts Monday as Anchorage begins “four week reset”
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Monday at 8 a.m. Anchorage will begin a “four week reset,” ordered by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz Friday because of a significant increase in local cases of COVID-19 and concern that the trajectory could overwhelm hospitals in September.
In addition to restricting the size of gatherings, the mandate also forces restaurants, breweries, bars and night clubs to close indoor dining.
For restaurant operators, the news Friday triggered frustration, in part because the announcement came just one week after the mayor previously restricted capacity.
“The hospitality industry was definitely challenged on Friday with this new mandate,” 49th State Brewing Company founder and president David McCarthy said. “There’s been a lot of conversation in the industry that we were only given seven days chance with the new mandates that were opened up, and the mandates changed so quickly. And adapting is important in our industry, but being able to pivot in such a short period of time is a significant expense to an industry with profit margins that are already very low”
The 49th State Brewing Company location in Anchorage is in a building with two large decks, and McCarthy says the company will be creating a new dining space with other amenities in a parking lot on site.
However, with summer fading and colder weather only a few months away, even having outdoor dining space won’t be enough to help local restaurants if the case count and subsequent restrictions remain.
“One of the things that we talk about here at our brewery is looking, as an example, pre 9-11 and post 9-11 for airports,” McCarthy said. “In the hospitality industry one of the greatest questions asked is we understand that this pandemic will pass in time. We don’t know how much time. So adapting during that time is important to survive, but the reality is how do we look in the future to make sure that we exceed our guests expectations in every way? Spacing of tables, the proper sanitation, what are these new expectations that our guests in the future are going to expect us to do? And we are trying to foresee that now to adapt so basically its an easier transition for our guests coming in the future.”
Anchorage’s “Four week reset” is set to expire the night of August 30th.
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