NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The coronavirus pandemic forced businesses all over the Tri-State Area to close, but there are some that opened in the midst of the chaos.
It took more than a year to transform the former Convent of the Episcopal Sisters of St. Mary’s into The Abbey Inn & Spa in Peekskill, NY. It was supposed to have its grand opening on March 18.
“Day before, we had to, unfortunately, call everybody and let them know that we couldn’t open as planned,” said Gilbert Baeriswil, the general manager.
Since the venue was just opening, they didn’t have many major events, like weddings, on the schedule that needed to be canceled, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
The shutdown forced the staff to refocus.
“The rooms were open. We hosted first responders at first, and then as time went on, like in April, May, we started seeing more and more guests that just needed to get out of their house,” said Baeriswil.
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In Tribeca, Homemade By Miriam opened its doors in June.
“When we came back to this neighborhood, everything was all boarded up still,” said Anne Castaldi, director of operations.
If there was any hesitation about whether to continue with opening, it didn’t last long.
“We got a lot of requests from our customers,” said Rafael Hasid, the owner.
Hasid said he owns several other restaurants, including one nearby, so there was already a loyal customer base. But, the area is different.
“Sixty percent of this neighborhood is vacant,” said Castaldi. “You can see it on the streets. The offices still aren’t open. World Trade won’t reopen ’til 2021, if that. Definitely jarring.”
Outdoor dining was actually never part of Hasid’s plan in Tribeca, but, like so many other restaurants, they added it anyway.
“We adjusted, with every different and new regulation that came up,” said Hasid.
Staff is tighter and Hasid has no idea where profits will be in the next few months.
For now, the businesses are forging ahead and hoping to get the word out to customers.
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