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Caterers say restrictions are "detrimental" to businesses, asks for new NYS guidelines

Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 23:53:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Salvatore's Italian Gardens went from three to four weddings a weekend to nearly none. The COVID-19 pandemic forced months worth of cancelations on the event space, from proms to business dinners to anniversary parties.

“It's difficult. it's weird walking out the doors,” said Russel Salvatore, owner of Salvatore’s Italian Gardens.

Golden Parachute Catering has lost nearly all of its business after New York went on pause. The owner calls the loss "devastating."

“It's been very difficult because now we can only go to 50. And you may not have that be profitable,” said Phil Palmisano, owner of Golden Parachute Catering.

According to New York state guidelines, catering companies can only serve food to events of 50 people.

“The playing field is a little bit different in terms of what's currently being allowed with restaurants as opposed to strictly catering companies,” Palmisano said.

At Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, there is an event space that can hold about 700 people. At 50% capacity, it can sit about 350 people, which is the same amount of people the restaurant portion of the space can feed social distancing style at 50% capacity.

“It doesn't really add up 100%”, said Salvatore.

Salvatore said they’d be able to accommodate events in the designated space in the same fashion as restaurants are operating. He said he'd even consider having a security guard to monitor the event, making sure people were acting safe.

Palmisano added people can even have these events safely outside.

“As the seasons go here in Buffalo, we're certainly running out of time for outdoor events, which could certainly be social distanced,” said Palmisano.

Both caterers are concerned they'll enter the holiday season with the same amount of unknowns.

“We would just like a little bit more guidance to kind of see where we're able to go and give our people who are having events weddings and corporate parties the same answer opposed to being kind of left in the dark a little bit,” said Salvatore.