Orange crush: Some restaurants close dining room at midnight |

Orange crush: Some restaurants close dining room at midnight

Berkeley Brean
Updated: November 24, 2020 05:43 PM
Created: November 24, 2020 05:40 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Midnight Wednesday, some restaurants in the Orange Zone in Monroe County are shutting down their dining rooms.

This comes after restaurants spent hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to make their space COVID-19 compliant. And now they're telling News10NBC their biggest concern is what they don't know. 

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "What are you worried about this week?"

Nick Semeraro, Donuts Delite: "Uh, the unanswered."

Semeraro owns Donuts Delite in Irondequoit. He shares the space with Salvatore's Pizza. Because their restaurant sits in an orange zip code, 14609, the governor's executive order says they have to close the dining room. 

Semeraro: "We're used to being open now. We have our systems in play. We're following everything. It's just frustrating we have no control over it. No matter how good we do or the procedures in play, we have to go by the masses."

Since reopening their dining room in early summer, the restaurant installed new plexiglass barriers. It's a COVID cottage industry. 

"It's a very easy concept we've come up with," Mark Coyle said.

Coyle is the business director for American Custom Metals in Spencerport. Their core business is custom-built aluminum framing and parts. But in the summer he and company CEO Patrick Revenew started making barriers for restaurant booths and bars. 

Mark Coyle, Regional Business Director American Custom Metals: "I think people are nervous about the conditions that are going on but they want to go out."

All the work is done at the company's warehouse in Spencerport. 

It's not sophisticated but they wanted to build something that fit the CDC rules and look nice enough to outlast the pandemic. 

Patrick Revenew, President American Custom Metals: "What will this look like in the future, after COVID subsides?"

Brean: "How much money do you think restaurants and bars have spent trying to make themselves COVID compliant?"

Melissa Fleischut, NYS Restaurant Association: "Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars."

Melissa Fleischut is the director of the New York State Restaurant Association. Right now she's pushing the state to cut restaurants breaks on fees and rent. Nationally, the association is pushing the federal government for a restaurant relief plan. 

Fleischut: "The bill that the industry has really rallied around is about $120 billion. So it's a big number."

That bill started in June and has 48 co-sponsors but is stuck in a U.S. Senate committee.

Starting Wednesday, Donuts Delite and Salvatores go takeout and curbside pick up only. 

Semeraro: "And we'll do what we do. We'll adapt. We'll adapt and we'll proceed."

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