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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: 2108510

Reported Deaths: 53522
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28043910447
Queens2771309949
Suffolk2008953399
Nassau1835453174
Bronx1833236585
New York1381274497
Westchester1296002286
Erie895411803
Richmond749181839
Monroe688791110
Orange48281843
Rockland46924963
Onondaga38888677
Dutchess29460445
Albany24687355
Oneida22590513
Niagara20027371
Broome18607366
Saratoga15352168
Ulster13897257
Schenectady13190205
Rensselaer11222142
Putnam1060492
Chautauqua8948144
Chemung7754135
Oswego761591
Ontario740293
Steuben6946144
Sullivan667075
St. Lawrence662896
Cayuga633692
Jefferson612268
Wayne577570
Cattaraugus571891
Genesee5435124
Herkimer5182109
Clinton483533
Madison456089
Livingston451760
Fulton442091
Tompkins434452
Montgomery4254125
Columbia4061104
Cortland391962
Tioga382763
Warren365857
Wyoming358053
Allegany355587
Chenango349576
Otsego346047
Greene340279
Washington315955
Orleans311883
Lewis280536
Franklin256112
Delaware237738
Seneca200956
Schoharie169217
Essex159226
Yates117826
Schuyler107014
Hamilton3132
Unassigned9214
Out of NY0247
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