Eating places are in search of Christmas events to spice up enterprise – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Restaurants and bars are still picking up the broken pieces after the COVID-19 pandemic closed business for a while. The concern now: COVID cases and hospitalizations are mounting in western Pennsylvania and across the state during the holiday season at a time when holiday parties are on.

Sienna Mercato’s staff prepare ice cream and oranges for a busy business night. The assistant manager says four Christmas parties are planned for Friday night. They say business isn’t quite what it was before the pandemic, but it’s getting there, especially when it comes to Christmas parties.

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“We’re not really back to where we were before COVID, but we do get a lot of parties booked in December and during the New Year’s Eve party we are hosting,” said Sienna Mercato Assistant Manager Manon Gilpatrick.

Others like Len Semplice, who owns Redbeard’s on Sixth Street downtown and on Mt. Washington, says there were few vacation parties that were booked.

“This year we’re really down. We usually have around 20 parties a year. This year we only booked two Christmas parties, ”said Semplice.

For the lack of bookings, he blames the lack of people working in the city center. Semplice says most vacation bookings are from large companies that still work remotely, but he tries to focus on the positives.

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“Just take the losses and hopefully the start of the year will be completely different,” said Semplice.

Some restaurant owners say it goes on as usual on public holidays.

“This year some of the pre-COVID-19 numbers are back,” said David Regan, owner of Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle.

Regan thinks he’s been lucky for two reasons: “We have a really steady clientele who come here and celebrate their holidays before they go to their families.” He also mentioned the constant development in the Strip District.

Meanwhile, Sienna Mercato’s assistant manager says they remain hopeful too.

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“I hope everything is back to the way it was next year,” said Gilpatrick.

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