Updated: February 13, 2021 11:11 PM
Created: February 13, 2021 10:38 PM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WHEC) — This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bars and restaurants can serve guests until 11 p.m., an hour later than the previous 10 p.m. curfew in New York State.
While this is great news for restaurant owners, it's also a sign of progress when it comes to curbing the spread of the virus. On Saturday, the state's 7-day average positivity rate dropped below 4% for the first time since November 30.
Valentine's Day is typically one of the busiest days of the year in the restaurant industry. The extra hour will allow restaurants like Pane Vino on the Avenue to seat an additional round of guests who prefer to dine later in the evening.
"We can take a 9 o'clock reservation, which normally, right now, we haven't been able to take that," says Pane Vino Co-Owner Rene Spallina. "It's just, you know, it's just not long enough to be out the door at 10."
With most group events still on pause, Pane Vino on the Avenue is taking advantage of its attached banquet/event space to spread out tables for easier social distancing. It's also taking advantage of its outdoor patio space, which is filled with plastic winter greenhouses and lined with industrial heaters.
"We call them 'Pane Pods'," says Spallina. "They have been so popular that even with indoor dining, they're still sold out every single weekend."
The pods were full when News10NBC visited the restaurant, and at the time it was just 17 degrees outside.
Over at Ristorante Lucano on East Avenue, Owner Chuck Formoso anticipated Valentine's Day would bring a crowd, so he adjusted his Sunday hours before the announcement of the curfew extension.
"We're already all booked up for tomorrow," says Formoso. "So the extra hour, we could've used, because we're actually opening up an hour earlier."
Regardless, the extra hour will allow guests to leisurely enjoy their holiday meal without having to rush. Formoso thinks it's a step in the right direction.
"The extra hour will help because normally we have people that are here until 10, 10:30, especially the later crowd," says Formoso.
If you're thinking about taking advantage of the extra hour on Valentine's Day, you might have a hard time getting a reservation. Restaurants still have to adhere to the 50% capacity regulation for the time being.
"We're sold out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and that's great," says Spallina. "What is even better is that people are out, they feel comfortable, you can see it's socially distant, and they feel good, and I'm so thrilled people are coming out."
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