Unconventional Thanksgiving eve for local bars amid COVID restrictions


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Wednesday night marked the first night bars and restaurants in the New York State-designated “orange zone” must close indoors.

The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is usually a great night for business – folks traveling back home and reconnecting with friends and family.

Wednesday marked a different story, as bars in the orange zone were completely shuttered to indoor seating. Shamrock Jack’s in Irondequoit falls within the yellow zone, and can still seat customers indoors.

“This is definitely a weird night before thanksgiving, but it’s better than some people are having right now, so we’re one of the lucky ones to have a few people in here,” said Mark Petzing, the owner of the Seabreeze-based pub.

Areas in the City of Rochester abundant with bars and restaurants – Park, Monroe, and East Avenues – all fell quiet Wednesday night, as the restrictions closed orange zone bars.

“We’re hoping to survive, we’re hoping we don’t get shut down. I don’t know if we can afford another shutdown to be honest,” continued Petzing.

Starting Wednesday, orange zone bars and eateries must close in-person. Those in the yellow zone can still be open, but have to be closed by midnight, per state guidelines. In both zones, restaurants can only seat four customers to a table.

In any case, bars and restaurants around the area are eager to renew that sense of community.

“We haven’t been able to be a pub in a long time. So we’re hoping to get that feeling back. And it will come, just not sure when,” Petzing added.

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