COVID-19 causes unprecedented obstacles for restaurants

Sophia Bottalico, Staff Writer

These unprecedented times have caused more issues than just staying at home. Restaurants across America face a state-mandated take out only or even worse temporary closure. 

In the state of Connecticut as of May 7, it is state-mandated for restaurants to remain as take-out only. But some cannot keep their doors open and that is causing more issues than expected. The reason for these temporary closures is that paying for mass food deliveries is more expensive than just staying closed. And since a single restaurant has about 20 to 40 employees, this can cause mass unemployment. 

Though for the restaurants that remain open as “take-out only,” some individuals do not want to work due to the fear of exposure to COVID-19. This is now a widespread issue for restaurants everywhere, including Connecticut. Regardless of the precautions taken at restaurants employees still fear the possibility of exposure. 

“After 27 years in the restaurant business, I have been forced to restructure my core business model to adjust to this challenging and complicated new way of operating a business in the wake of this global pandemic,” Sliders Grill and Bar owner Fred Marcantonio said. 

Though at an even higher level restaurant owners see and have to find solutions to every problem they face. Now, meat shortages are occurring, and for many restaurants, that’s a major issue. 

“In meatpacking plants from South Dakota to Tennessee, workers have gotten sick from the coronavirus as they work side-by-side cutting, boning and trimming meat. The spread has shuttered plants, slowed production, and created a ripple effect across the supply chain,” according to Melissa Repko of CNBC. 

Marcantonio has six restaurants located in Berlin, Plainville, Torrington, Southington, Wallingford, and Middletown. His LLC had to temporarily close the doors of its Torrington location, though all five others remain open for take-out and delivery only. 

“I am anxiously awaiting for the state to reopen so that I may once again serve the public for in-house dining,” Marcantonio said. 

Despite the rapidly changing restrictions, restaurant owners and employees are anticipating getting back to normal in-house dining and rejoining all of their fellow coworkers in the hospitality industry. Consumers have the ability to help these restaurants stay open by ordering takeout or delivery.