Governor Cuomo, during his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday, declared the Mohawk Valley region cleared to begin phase 3 of its reopening on Friday. That phase includes indoor dining at restaurants and personal services, like massages and nails.
"Nervous and excited, but more excited. We just wanna do the right thing," said Eric Del Buono, owner of Cafe Del Buono and Prop's Inn, in New Hartford.
Del Buono has been busy installing plexiglass between booths at Prop's. He'll remove half the tables from the dining room at Cafe Del Buono. There are only 12 tables to begin with, so that loss will cut deep. But he's grateful for the loyal customers the remaining tables will hold.
"We miss them and they miss us. I get text messages every day from customers."
"Oh, I was watching today, yeah," said Francesca Magro, co-owner of Sorrento's, in Ilion, of the governor's daily briefing. Sorrento's isn't opening until Monday; they're taking the weekend to make sure they get it right.
"We're gonna have signs that say you cannot sit at these tables. We're still gonna leave them in there in case there are parties because you can have up to ten people at a table," says Magro. She's happy to be able to keep her staff working.
"That was our huge thing, making sure they had a job and our servers, still giving them hours inside, curbside, the deliveries that are ordered. Our servers became delivery drivers."
Magro says the cost of reopening for inside dining under all the new regulations, and, the loss revenue over the past three months, have not forced the restaurant to raise prices.
"We have seen some costs go up, but we've done really good on our end to just maintain the cost and everything so we haven't done any price increase at all."
Masks...plexiglass....hyper-sanitization....reduced capacity....social distancing: restaurant ownership in the time of the coronavirus.
"I have never experienced anything like this in my 37 years," said Magro. "It's surreal. It is."