‘How are we going to stay afloat?’ Local bars react to new curfew

Business

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With COVID-19 infection rates spiking, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week new guidelines for businesses to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re seeing a national and global COVID surge and New York is a ship on the COVID tide,” said Cuomo on Wednesday adding, “We’ve seen the country set a new record in terms of COVID cases, believe it or not.”

Cuomo said all bars, restaurants, (or establishment with New York State Liquor Authority license), and gyms, have to close by 10PM starting Friday until further notice. On that list, bar owners and managers say they will feel the heat the most.

“For a bar, it’s tremendous. A majority of your income is going to be coming in in those hours anyway, from 10 to 2,” says Ryan Dooling with Murphy’s Law on East Ave. and Alexander.

Dooling says to close 4 hours early means losing a large percentage of foot traffic. He says if you’re looking to slow the spread of COVID, look elsewhere. 

“I don’t think we’re the hot spots because we take the precautions that are necessary,” he says.

“How are we going to get people in? How are we going to promote? How are we going to stay afloat?”

Sarah Jerla, Wall street bar & grill

Masking, barriers, distance, sanitation: All things you’ll find at Murphy’s Law, and down the road at Wall Street Bar & Grill. Sarah Jerla says they are also normally open until 2AM. 

“It is very hard on us because a lot of times there are people who don’t come out until later in the evening,” says Jerla.

Jerla says the other guidelines— like limiting four to a table— is just more income lost. “Having to tell a family of five ‘sorry we can’t seat you’, is really hard,” she says.

One couple out said with the new curfew, it gets in the way of making too many evening plans. 
“We were actually going to go to the mall. We take the bus, so by the time we got there, it would almost have been time to close, so…we decided to come (to Murphy’s Law),” says Jennifer Bauer.

Jerla says when Albany makes these Covid decisions, it’s often on short notice and leaves little time to adjust. “How are we going to get people in? How are we going to promote? How are we going to stay afloat? 

Gov. Cuomo also said this week private gatherings are limited to 10 people. He said local law enforcement need to be active to help enforce these new guidelines. 

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