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First full weekend for restored bar service, mixed reaction from restaurants in Williamsport

Some restaurants are optimistic, but some find the lifted restrictions difficult to work with.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — At Kimball's Pub on 2nd Street in Williamsport, happy hour brought with it a happy crowd.

This is the first full weekend since the state lifted some restrictions on Easter Sunday, allowing bar service to resume.

RELATED: State easing some pandemic restrictions

Customers can order drinks without food. The curfew for alcohol sales was lifted.

“Things are opening up a lot more. We're keeping our steady hours. We've eventually going to extend our hours a little bit later in the night to get back into that more of a bar scene,” said Miranda Kohler, a Kimball’s employee.

The state allows 75% capacity for indoor dining and drinking, but six feet of social distancing must be maintained - so Kimball's is keeping tables at the bar.

“Since our capacity is not 100%, that allows us to still do bar service, but it allows us to do the six feet distancing as well between that,” said Kohler.

It's the same story at Bullfrog Brewery on 4th Street in the city. Owner Steve Koch says taking away the four tops lining the bar would mean losing 16 seats to four bar stools.

“The economics of that obviously, you're not on our side,” said Koch.

Koch says the 75% capacity doesn't really help restaurants or bars.

“Since we're required to still have proper distancing, it really doesn't make sense for us to expand in those ways,” said Koch. “It's just a number.”

Some customers felt the indoor dining restrictions lasted too long.

“It especially made places like this suffer a lot. A lot of them aren't going to reopen or won't ever be the same again,” said John Hitesman of Duboistown, who is a Kimball’s regular.

The state is still encouraging people to choose outdoor dining, curbside pick-up, and takeout.

While Kimball's cannot offer outdoor dining, the Bullfrog can. Its owner is already planning for the approaching warmer weather.