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Richmond's closes over COVID-19 concerns

Charles Molineaux
Updated: October 12, 2020 07:50 PM
Created: October 12, 2020 10:56 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — An iconic Downtown Rochester bar is now shut down, a casualty of coronavirus and the ongoing restrictions on businesses.

Richmond's is just a couple blocks north of East Avenue, the route of the St. Patrick's Day parade, a major source of business that didn't happen this year. It was one blow for the business among many, until the owner says it couldn't handle anymore.

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“It’s a stab in the back, sometimes, it had so much potential and then it just kind of squanders away a little bit,” sighed head Chef Cory Gefell, who observed that it wasn't hard to see the bar was struggling just from how much cooking he was doing.

Even with the state's requirement that all the bar's customers have food, orders dropped off a lot.

"You could see the writing on the walls,” Gefell added. “This whole thing has been tough on everyone."

"In my opinion, I think the restrictions were too much,” declared Richmond's owner Andy Kernahan.

Kernahan said he’d been burning through savings and reserve funds as the bar had been losing money since it came out of its first coronavirus lockdown and reopened in mid-June, allowed only to have half its normal capacity of customers, while expenses didn't change.

"It would be rents, insurances, also our liquor license was due this year,” he ticked off. "And what you're able to charge people too. You have less people coming in, you'd want to raise your prices to afford things but people don't have the money to pay more right now.”

Meanwhile, Kernahan added, some customers just stopped coming because their normal $8 bar tab suddenly becomes a $25 tab when they're forced to buy dinner too.

After decades as a Rochester institution, he says he couldn't make it work anymore and held one last night on Saturday, then closed. 

Kernahan is hoping to shift business, and some displaced workers, to his other bar Kerney's Pub in North Winton Village. He also owns Mason’s in East End but it’s currently closed also because its license is suspended over covid restriction violations.

Kernehan says the worst part has been just not knowing how long all these rules will last. 

"We might've been able to keep going here but not knowing, and the unknown, you can't just keep pouring money into something when you don't know if it's going to change."


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