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80W in Rochester temporarily closes after customers fail to comply with pandemic rules

Food and Drink

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A popular East End destination for unique small-platter cuisine and craft cocktails has shut down after customers’ refusal to comply with COVID-19 safety regulations this past weekend.

80W, located on Lawrence Street just north of East Avenue, posted on Facebook Monday that with “great sadness,” the business was “compelled to temporarily close the doors to 80W.”

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Although noting that guests were mostly gracious when reminded to wear masks, owners of the establishment noticed continued non-compliance issues this past weekend. The post went on to say:

“Despite having staff and security constantly reminding our patrons to wear masks when moving from the bar to the bathroom or from their assigned table to the patio, we learned on Saturday night that this was a losing battle. Guests were kind and gracious each and every time they were reminded to don a mask. Unfortunately, after three cocktails, inhibitions wane and best intentions are forgotten”

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With safety in mind, the owners say they are making a responsible choice in shutting down. The post went on to say:

“It was morally and ethically important for us to cease business until that point in time when it is that we’ve conquered COVID and it’s no longer dangerous.”

Full post:

“It’s with great sadness that Duffy and I feel compelled to temporarily close the doors to 80W.

Six weeks ago, we resumed business after the government-imposed mandate forced us to cease operations. The 2 1/2 months that the restaurant sat idle were financially difficult, however, we supported Governor Cuomo’s edict. Today, large swaths of the country are battling COVID-related deaths and trying to flatten burgeoning curves while the state of New York is experiencing small numbers of new infections and death. At the risk of sounding grandiose, responsible behavior begets life. Whether it’s the use of seatbelts, the decision to refrain from smoking, or the use of face masks and social distancing, our behaviors determine our future. We’re grateful for his leadership and the compliance of concerned citizens.

When we resumed operations in the middle of June, business was slow. Rochesterians were still trying to determine whether they wanted to venture out to eat. Although our net take wasn’t impressive, we were paying our bills and breaking even. We knew that, with the passing of each week, our numbers would increase and, indeed, they have. This past weekend was, frankly, incredibly lucrative and we enjoyed a sizable profit. Unfortunately, there is a direct correlation that exists between the number of guests patronizing a restaurant and the financial success of that establishment. Sadly, it quickly became obvious that we could do well, however, in order to do so, we were going to have to pack guests onto the patio and into the dining room at 7 Lawrence Street. Despite having staff and security constantly reminding our patrons to wear masks when moving from the bar to the bathroom or from their assigned table to the patio, we learned on Saturday night that this was a losing battle. Guests were kind and gracious each and every time they were reminded to don a mask. Unfortunately, after three cocktails, inhibitions wane and best intentions are forgotten.

So, on Sunday morning, Duffy and I discussed what it is that we knew the other was thinking. It was morally and ethically important for us to cease business until that point in time when it is that we’ve conquered COVID and it’s no longer dangerous. Although it will be a strain, we have the ability to fulfill the financial obligations associated with paying a mortgage on a vacant building that needs to be heated and insured. These are difficult times and these are the decisions that are best for us. We know the difficulties associated with owning a restaurant even during the best of times and we want to convey our well wishes to the other restaurateurs and their staff who are struggling in similar ways.

Lastly, we want to convey our gratitude to our remarkable staff. We’ve really come to respect and admire the team that we assembled and are so proud of the fact that they took their newfound responsibilities toward COVID incredibly seriously. They were the first to tell us that masks and social distancing should be at the forefront of service and they never waned from their commitment. We’re so sorry that as a result of this decision, they are going to suffer financial hardship. If you know of any restaurant or bar looking for GREAT help, please let us know. We believe in and would highly recommend everyone that we’ve had the honor of working with. Although it may require a small miracle, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to work with them again.

We know that we will be back. We’re just not sure when. Until then, our heartfelt thanks to the incredible number of friends- old and new- who supported us the past two years. We look forward to greeting you warmly when it is that the world is a safer place!”

80W currently has a 4.5 star rating on nearly 80 Yelp reviews.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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