UTICA, N.Y. - Governor Cuomo’s order on Monday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, came with a lot of job loss.
Cuomo ordered all bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. Monday night until further notice, to dine-in patrons. Bars and restaurants will only be allowed to have takeout and delivery service.
Michael Patrick Griffin, owner of Griffin’s Pub in downtown Utica, says this has been a difficult day and a day he never imagined would happen, that a pandemic would basically shut down people’s everyday lives, “The whole industry, the whole restaurant industry, is going to be crippled for a long time.”
Griffin says he had to let his night staff go and keep his daytime staff to help prepare food and delivery orders, “We have no idea how everybody is going to be paying their bills, we don’t know yet, because we can’t afford to pay them because we have nothing coming in.”
Griffin says he hopes that people in the community will order from small businesses to help keep them afloat, but he doesn’t know what will happen because so many businesses have so many of their workers working from home and a large portion of his business is from people who work in the downtown area, "We’ll see in the next few days. If it’s not too good, will just have to shut down.”
Michael Grande, general manager of One Genny at 1 Genesee St. in New Hartford, says he decided to close the restaurant and bar on Monday after hearing the governor’s order to shut down at 8 p.m. He says management wanted to take it all in, talk to employees, some of which had to be laid off, and prepare to focus on take out and delivery orders, “Just kind of gather our thoughts and kind of figure the rest of the week out.”
Grande, whose family also owns the chain of Grande’s restaurants in the area, says it is difficult to tell some of his hard working and dedicated employees, that he has to let them go, at least temporarily, “Everyone has been pretty much understanding. We had some folks who this is their second job, so some of them said let the people who do this as their primary income, let them have the shifts.”
Grande says hopefully this won’t last too long.
He says this is a tough time in the world in which we live, “I’m a little nervous like everybody else, but I think this is a time where we can all come together and I think we’re all going to be different from it, but I think we’re all going to be better in the long run.”
Finally, Johnny Tebo, owner of Johnny’s pizza on Genesee Street in the Bagg’s Square area in downtown Utica says most of his business is takeout and delivery anyway, but he says who knows if people are going to order out or now going to cook more at home, “I'm hoping delivery and take out will pick up to compensate the loss of dine-in. But once people are out of work, I think they will start to tighten their budgets and it will hurt us as a whole.”