COVID presents difficult decisions for restaurant owners

What could be more devastating than the government shutting down your beloved business due to a global pandemic? Making the tough decision to shutter it yourself.

Posted: Dec 4, 2020 5:31 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 6:04 PM

UTICA, NY - What could be more devastating than the government shutting down your beloved business due to a global pandemic? Making the tough decision to shutter it yourself.

"It's not safe. The public does not feel safe. The staff does not feel safe. I don't feel safe putting our staff and our employees in harm's way," says Francis Pezzolanella, owner of Ocean Blue in downtown Utica.

Ocean Blue has moved to takeout only. Knowing that COVID-19 would be a long-term issue. They've also moved to an online marketplace, bringing the consumer on board in the cookng process. They made these moves in the wake of record-high new cases in Oneida County.

"We've shifted to direct to consumer. We're shipping food directly out of our kitchen, packaging it up, shipping it with dry ice and ice packs and getting almost at home meals that you finish it off and cook it at home," says Pezzolanella.

They deliver locally and ship to cities around the country that have shut down.

Pezzolanella's new venture, Nostro, is on hold, likely until the spring.

"Nostro's designed to be a party, and that's the last thing we could have right now, so when we could open up as a party, we're gonna open it back up," says Pezzolanella.

The Celtic Harp, on Varick Street in Utica, broke the bad news on their Facebook page Friday: they're closing at 10:00 p.m. Saturday until it's safe to reopen.

Iconic by Chesterfield, in the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, relied heavily on business travelers - a market share that's been decimated by the pandemic.

"During the week, it was amazing. You would think weekdays were weekends for us here because we heavily relied on business travelers," says manager Rachael Russo.

"I'm just not sure if, like, the community is aware that we do offer spaced out indoor seating, we have the mezzanine for even more spaced out seating. It's beautiful up there. Aesthetics are great. Also now, curbside and takeout, again, something we never did before until post-COVID," ays Russo.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2373659

Reported Deaths: 54904
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings31693410717
Queens30446810139
Suffolk2263213507
Nassau2057483244
Bronx2012496686
New York1607744600
Westchester1403622327
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Richmond853091901
Monroe775831154
Orange54237887
Rockland50600768
Onondaga45436707
Dutchess33589483
Albany28239368
Oneida25527541
Niagara22005382
Broome21557384
Saratoga18312186
Ulster16239271
Schenectady15162214
Rensselaer13180154
Putnam1176595
Chautauqua10796155
Oswego9496100
Chemung8956144
St. Lawrence8774115
Ontario846496
Steuben8285156
Cayuga7828100
Sullivan776581
Jefferson737071
Wayne686877
Cattaraugus667596
Genesee6017127
Herkimer5937116
Tompkins588959
Clinton558534
Madison533897
Fulton523297
Livingston514066
Montgomery5023133
Cortland478369
Warren464676
Columbia4608107
Tioga436867
Chenango414886
Otsego413051
Allegany398192
Greene391983
Wyoming388454
Washington387061
Orleans358983
Franklin344415
Lewis315936
Delaware301740
Seneca244459
Schoharie205420
Essex192929
Yates138126
Schuyler126416
Hamilton4073
Unassigned12529
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