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Restrictions at bars and restaurants ease

Increased indoor capacity and other loosened dining restrictions went into effect on April 4.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — It was a busy lunch hour at Wheel in downtown Pottsville -- and maybe the most crowded it's been in a year.

Governor Wolf eased COVID-19 restrictions at bars and restaurants, allowing indoor dining at 75% capacity.

Even with a larger crowd, customers say they still feel safe.

“We really have not been coming to restaurants very much. We try to pick something that's small, and we don't have to really be that close to people. We feel pretty comfortable here even though the percentage has gone up. It feels fantastic,” said Roseanne Deom of Drums.

Many customers were coming inside to grab a bite to eat today. Some of them were surprised that they were told they could sit at the bar.

“We got to sit at the bar. She asked us if we wanted to sit at the bar, and we were like, 'Yes. We can?' We don't go out that often but when we go out, you like to sit where you're comfortable or sit at the bar, especially when you have a good bartender that's friendly,” said Bonnie Stoppie and Kelsie Fiscus.

Kyle Drummer is moving back to the area with his family and decided to try Wheel for the first time.

“Good atmosphere. Everything is spread out. Good music. Seems like it's going to be a good place,” said Drummer.

He ordered a beer and grilled cheese with steak, but he could've ordered just the drink under the new restrictions. Other customers say they're worth it.

“Delicious. They're very good. It's nice to be able to do that again,” said Stoppie and Fiscus.

And customers won't have to put those drinks away early. The state has lifted the 10 p.m. curfew for alcoholic beverages at tables. Drummer says it's encouraging to see.

“With capacity being reduced and things like that, it's been a little bit different, so it's nice to start getting back to normal. Being able to come out, have lunch and have a drink,” said Drummer.

“It's nice that things are starting to ease up and sorta getting back to normal. It's been a really long year,” said Stoppie.

The state is still encouraging outdoor dining and takeout options. Mask wearing and social distancing requirements remain in effect.