JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Restaurants are coping with a new reality, relying solely on takeout and deliveries, but while things have changed, they’re still here to serve.
Streets that would usually be packed shoulder to shoulder are now empty as people stay home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and that’s left many restaurants no other option but to close.
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The few still open have had to adjust.
“You touch money, you gotta throw the gloves out, get a new pair of gloves. We try to take as many precautions as we can to keep the staff safe and make sure customers are safe,” said Steve Kalcanides, owner of Helen’s Pizza.
His restaurant has been in Jersey City for over 50 years.
“There’s always different things that you have to adjust to, and usually in times of crisis, people come for food because you’re not going to get it everywhere,” he told CBS2’s Kevin Rincon. “And we’ve been part of the lucky ones that are able to provide this service.”
He says business has been down by least 40%.
A few blocks away at Razza, owner Dan Richer says they went from purely dine-in to takeout and delivery, something they’ve never had to do before.
Once you walk through the front doors, there’s a gate to keep people out and away from the staff.
“As long as everyone in the restaurant stays healthy, we can keep doing this as long as we need to. Granted, sales are down dramatically … Less than half, less than half,” Richer said.
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Restaurant owners just about everywhere have been thanking the communities they serve for helping them stay afloat. That includes Travis Young of Elysian.
“They came together. We are getting orders every day. We’re able to get a little bit of money in to give to the staff, to buy the food that we need to make for the day, so we are able to make a little bit and I really appreciate the Hoboken community coming together and supporting us, and that’s a really big thing that they’ve been able to do,” Young said.
While many business owners try to get creative, they say this is not sustainable. They’re hoping for some short-term relief.