The greatest challenge in gradually reopening New Hope's businesses is faced by the hospitality industry. New Hope Borough Council and the New Hope Chamber of Commerce are convening a virtual roundtable for bar and restaurant managers and owners to start planning for their best possible future. The meeting, for New Hope restaurateurs only, will be held via Zoom at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, When the Pennsylvania Department of Health moves Bucks County from "red" to "yellow" on its phased reopening plan, restaurants will still be limited to take-out, curbside pickup, and delivery. And the final "green" phase will adhere to social-distancing guidelines, which will fundamentally change the dining rooms and business models of this critical industry. New Hope Borough restaurant and bar owners and managers interested in attending the May 21 Zoom event should email Laura Kent at the Borough, email@example.com
, by 3 p.m Wednesday, May 20.
"Our restaurants and night spots are a huge part of what makes New Hope the vibrant riverfront town we all know and love," said Borough Council President Connie Gering. "It will take every bit of creative thinking we can muster to find ways to help these businesses operate in this 'new normal,' and we need to start the brainstorming as soon as possible."
Chefs and venue owners across the country have voiced concern about how the restaurant industry can survive while we all wait for public health measures that allow for the social distancing rules to be lifted. This concern has generated many outside-the-box ideas, from filling the streets with well-spaced tables, to seating mannequins at every other table to maintain six feet between dining parties. But before getting the green light for restricted in-person dining, restaurants will need to continue for an untold number of weeks limited to take-out, delivery or curbside pick-up. Finding ways to help sustain them through this phase is at the top of the roundtable agenda.
"As we discussed at our May 15 roundtable for New Hope merchants, Borough Council stands ready to assist in any way we can. From parking to signage to the use of public land, we want to hear their ideas, better understand their needs, and find ways we can help," Gering said.