Cloud of uncertainty for restaurants, bars, and servers

Posted at 5:17 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 17:17:40-04

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Changes are coming to restaurants and bars as all establishments will have to close their dining and bar areas effective Monday at 8 p.m. Businesses will have to work under a take-out service only.

"We all have children and we all have homes and mortgages and payments that we have to make," Lori Cubins, a server at Bar-Bill Tavern said. "It creates a lot of uncertainty."

Cubins has been a server at the restaurant in East Aurora for 17 years. For the single mother of three, serving is her main source of income.

"If we can get back to business within two weeks, we're probably going to be okay," Cubins said. "But if it continues to go on longer than that, a lot of us will struggle with that."

The location in East Aurora has always had a take-out service but every patron knows how packed the dining area normally is.

"Ultimately we're buckling down and preparing for an extended negative impact to the business," Bar-Bill owner Clark Crook said.

Not only is the hit to business expected to be painful, Crook says he's worried about his staff.

"The impact on them is enormous," he added. "It can't be understated so either way, our employee impact is something we're the most concerned about."

In Tonawanda, Mississippi Mudds has moved completely to curbside service and are offering free delivery within a two-mile radius. It's all to help provide customers with a quick meal.

"It's gonna impact everybody but it's the right move to do," part-owner Tony Berrafato said. "I still believe people want the food they enjoy and we're keeping people working as best you can."

And during this time of uncertainty, employers can only look for the light at the end of the tunnel and hope one day soon, it's business as usual.

"It will be a struggle if it continues on for more than the two weeks," Cubins said. "But we will get through this, absolutely."