Beachside businesses prepare for Memorial Day weekend

Andrew Hyman
Created: May 22, 2020 11:37 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Outside of California Rollin II’s Port of Rochester location, a guitarist was playing live music as a line of customers waited in front of the restaurant’s outer bar-like setup.

Inside, masked employees shuffled back and forth as they carried out paper bags for to-go, or delivery orders.

"Business has been good," owner Tom Beaman Jr. said.

But overall, Beaman says sales have been down, like with all restaurants, his newly-remodeled dining room is shut down, and his patio, which usually draws a crowd, is cleared of its usual tables and chairs.

This coming Memorial Day weekend is usually a busy time for the water-side restaurant, but given how business has played out so far, Beaman says they only plan to be open through Sunday, as opposed to all three days. He says the decision was made between him and his staff.

"With the tiki bar being shut, and society not being open, we don't think we're going to do very much," Beaman said.

This move comes at a time where the nearby Ontario Beach Park joined other area beaches in re-opening Friday, albeit with some restrictions. About an hour after our interview with Beaman, Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order to ease the state’s ban on gatherings of 10 people or less

Across the street from the Port of Rochester, at Windjammers Sports Bar, owner Lee Selover is taking a different approach. They're staying open.

"What do you think of? [When thinking of Memorial Day] You think of the beach, the warm weather, the boats," Selover said.

With that in mind, Selover says they anticipate quite the rush, depending on how many people look for fun in the sun, especially with loosened restrictions set to take place.

Despite a recent push from the New York State Restaurant Association, this executive order does not include a re-opening of restaurants.

Regardless, Selover says the restaurant will continue to sanitize routinely, and hold customers at a distance. 

"I mean, we do our part," he said.

Just down the road- a manager at Abbott’s Frozen Custard on Lake Ave did not comment on camera but told us they're only keeping a couple of to-go windows open, with an emphasis on keeping people spaced out, while keeping lines quick.

The manager says they've brought back some extra staff at different kitchen stations in case of a rush.

Back at California Rollin, for the people who roll up this weekend, Beaman says they've installed a touch less payment system, and they're working to keep customers and employees at a distance, so they can keep the music, and the business going.

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