Sad. Frustrated. Angry.

All adequate words to describe the feelings of restaurant and bar owners in Erie following the Governor's announcement. 

Earlier this afternoon, PA Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine announced that bars and restaurants statewide would not be permitted to sell alcohol between 5:00 pm Wednesday and 8:00 am Thursday. 

That's Thanksgiving eve. It also happens to be one of, if not the biggest drinking night of the year. 

Downtown owners feel this wasn't needed. 

"This is obviously another gross overreach by the governor", said Chris Sirianni, owner of The Brewerie at Union Station.  "We've done things along the way to make sure we're operating safe and within the guidelines of Pennsylvania's restrictions. This is just another major setback."

Anne Lewis, Marketing Director of Red Letter Hospitality, agrees. "The restaurant industry among other businesses have been hit incredibly hard", she said. "This was a tough pill to swallow when we got the news today."

"We're getting punished for trying to do everything right", added Marci Honard, owner of Calamari's Squid Row. She is one of several owners who now will have to change plans just 48 hours before the restrictions go into effect.

This isn't the first time owners have had to sit on the sidelines as a big day for drinking happens, though. The Commonwealth ordered a statewide shutdown very close to St. Patrick's day.

In other words, it's deja vu.

"When they did it on St. Patrick's day, I think everybody thought it was going to be a month or two, and then it was six and nine, and now it's looking to be closer to a year", Honard said. "It's getting harder and harder for everybody to survive and to stay positive."

Sirianni feels as if restaurant and bar owners are being "targeted". He believes that for the most part, restrictions have been focused solely on these types of businesses and nothing else. 

" It's devastating, it's hard to get over", said Sirianni. "Our big question now would be, are you now going to close grocery stores the night before Thanksgiving, are you going to close retail the night after Thanksgiving?"

Each owner fears that with continued restrictions like these, it may not be long before some, if not all locally owned bars and restaurants shut the doors for good. 

"It's tough to see and it's hard to live this and be a restauranteur during this time", said Lewis. "Fortunately we had a great summer but right now, it's a little different and when restrictions keep piling on, it keeps getting tougher."

Sirianni echoed this. "This is only the beginning", he said. "It's going to be a long winter and we can't sustain this much longer. A lot of restaurants are on life support, ones are hanging on. This is just one more blow, and there's going to be some long term consequences of this."

"We need help", Honard said. "Whether it be PPP money or just staying open at 50%, or at this point, maybe even the vaccine."

"But we need help."

This story was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.