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Newark's Picnic Restaurant Says Fear, Not Capacity Limits, Hurting Business


New Jersey has raised the capacity limits for public indoor activity to 35% from 25%. Will this help a hurting restaurant industry?

Manuel Galhofo is the owner of Picnic Bar and Restaurant in East Newark. He said he doesn’t expect the increased capacity to help much because people just aren’t going out.

“It’s good news, anything that they do to increase, if they come we are able to serve them and that would be nice,” he said, “but my thing is people are not coming out as they used to.”

Galhofo said he was only filling about 60% of the 25% capacity, and that he is taking in about a quarter of what he used to. He said the capacity limit isn’t really the problem.

“They can increase me, but ... the people are afraid, they’re not coming out, they’re afraid,” he said, “and for 25, 35 percent it will not help us around here, I don’t think it will make a difference at all.”

He said takeout has been keeping him afloat, and that he is lucky to own his building – if he had to pay rent, he said he’d have had to close.

He doesn’t offer delivery, he said. Services like Uber Eats would not work for him. “They want to make 30 percent on your profit,” he said. “If I sell 100 dollars worth of product, let’s say I make 15 dollars profit, they want to make 30 dollars on the 100 dollars, they want to make more money than I do.”