Saratoga restaurants receive aid to increase outdoor dining

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Increasing indoor capacity for restaurants to 75 percent has received a lackluster response from business owners.

“We were not able to bring anymore seating inside.” said Scallion’s Owner Liz Swoyer.

Due to social distancing rules, Swoyer said the increase in capacity doesn’t help. The limit in capacity has made slim margins for profit even slimmer.

Help is on the way as restaurants continue to struggle because of the pandemic. Several restaurants in Saratoga Springs are getting concrete barriers put down on streets to expand outdoor dining.

“With the donation of the cement barriers, I don’t know where we would be in terms of survival,” Swoyer said.

80 concrete barriers were donated by D.A. Collins and Peter Gailor Landscape.

The slabs are installed on Henry Street and several other roads to expand dining again once this year. It’s helping restaurants like Swoyer’s fill the profit gap caused by limited seating.

“That one action alone, getting outdoors and having extra space last summer, really made a difference whether they’re still in business today,” said Saratoga Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus.

Shimkus said the overall sales tax revenue in the city was down about 15 percent last year. With things beginning to reopen, he hopes infection rates stay low and vaccinations continue to rise.

“We’ve heard from restaurants [that patrons] already feel safe going back out. Scallion’s, for instance, has had families come back and dine out inside their restaurants after they got vaccinated because they feel safe,” Shimkus said.

41 percent of Saratoga County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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