Maine dining establishments cautious of more COVID shutdowns – Portland Press Herald – pressherald.com

19November 2020

Will Lavey, chef and owner of the Blue Spoon dining establishment in Portland, states that dining establishments in Portland will likely have to make adjustments to their organization models to make it through the winter. Derek Davis/Staff Professional Photographer Restaurants around the

country are starting to push back at the concept that they are major spreaders of COVID-19. Now an industry group that represents Maine dining establishments is participating in, arguing that the label is unfair due to the fact that the dining establishments with problems are the ones that do not follow security procedures.”No one wants to be risky due to the fact that it will be devastating not only to the public however the dining establishment itself, “said Steve Hewins, president of HospitalityMaine.”

So most restaurants– the large bulk– are attempting to do the right thing, and I believe that frequently does not get reported.”Hewins said that with COVID cases rising, Maine restaurateurs are worried there will be another sweeping restaurant shutdown due to the fact that they are” easy targets.”However this time, he stated, such a relocation might close much of them for excellent. Hewins strategies to ask the state to assign approximately $5 million in funds from the federal CARES Act for grants to help smaller sized dining establishments set up devices, systems and software application that would both keep the public safe “and enable dining establishments to continue to run and employ individuals and make it through till the point that the pandemic is no longer managing their lives.”

More analysis is needed to identify the exact quantity that would be needed, Hewins said, however he pictures the funds approaching things like new air filters, gas and electrical outdoor heating units, tents and other momentary structures, plexiglass, and new software for dealing with takeout. “We remain in the ninth inning now because that money needs to be spent by Dec. 31 or it’s (taken) back by the federal government,” Hewins said.

The federal Centers for Illness Control and Prevention launched a report in September that said grownups with COVID-19 were two times as most likely as the general population to have actually consumed at a dining establishment two weeks before. But the National Restaurant Association responded that a correlation is not the same thing as cause and effect, which dangers can be reduced by focusing on safety measures such as mask using and social distancing.

On Tuesday, the association sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging that choices about controling restaurants be based on “facts and contact-tracing data, not hypothetical simulations of transmission.”

“There is an unproven impression that dining establishments become part of the problem, and we are suffering as an outcome of inconsistent, limiting requireds,” Tom Bené, president and CEO of the National Dining establishment Association, wrote in the letter. “Information tying systemic community outbreaks of COVID-19 to dining establishments has yet to emerge, however we are too typically labelled as ‘super-spreaders,’ and have become a hassle-free scapegoat for reflexive shutdowns.”

Hewins noted that more than 4,500 frontline restaurant employees in Maine have completed a course covering health and safety procedures tailored specifically toward managing the spread of the unique coronavirus. Many of the dining establishments that have had cases appear in this state were not following the suitable guidelines, he said.

There are currently 7 open outbreak investigations connected with dining establishments and social clubs in Maine, according to Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC.

< img loading ="lazy" class= "size-large wp-image-21003341"src =" https://portlandmaineinsnearme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/maine-restaurants-wary-of-more-covid-shutdowns-portland-press-herald-pressherald-com-1.jpg "alt =""width= "1024"height="695"/ > The Blue Spoon dining establishment

in Portland is serving both indoors and outdoors, even as the weather cools, and providing takeout and shipment. The dining establishment normally seats about 34 individuals, and now it can seat no more than 14. Derek Davis/Staff Professional Photographer Liz Koenigsberg, who owns the Blue Spoon Cafe in Portland with her other half, Will Lavey, said she supports the concept of a little pushback since the idea of another shutdown is” scary. “”We are extremely concerned about there being another shutdown with no financial systems in place for assistance for us at this moment,” she stated.” This summertime was a bit better than everybody had anticipated, however definitely didn’t make up for all of that time we needed to be closed prior. So to return to that is scary, particularly in the winter season in Maine since it’s a slower time anyway.”

Koenigsberg said they have actually already seen a downturn in organization as the weather has gotten chillier. The restaurant is serving people both inside your home and outdoors, and using both takeout and delivery. The Blue Spoon usually seats about 34, consisting of at the bar, she said, but right now it can seat just 14 individuals optimum– and usually it’s more like 8 or 10.

Koenigsberg said Hewins’ concept of targeted grants for restaurants is “amazing” and “extremely useful for us.” She said the heated outside dining pods some restaurants are utilizing this winter season are too costly for their little cafe, so Lavey– who has also worked in construction– is thinking about building them himself. Koenigsberg approximates the job may cost a couple of thousand dollars, as much as the outdoor deck seating they constructed themselves so they might have simply three extra tables.

“If we knew this were a forever circumstance, then perhaps it would be worth the investment,” she said, “but for us to purchase something for one season, we need to decide if it’s going to be worth the money we make off of it. We also do not want to do this and then have (the governor) inform us that she’s shutting us down.”

Lee Farrington, co-owner of LB Kitchen area in Portland, which is doing takeout and shipment only, likewise likes the concept of helping out smaller sized independent restaurants economically. Her restaurant recently got a $5,000 grant through Coastal Enterprises Inc.– part of a program produced by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston to provide COVID-related support to small companies– that she prepares to utilize on an outdoor alcove “so people aren’t freezing when they pertain to get their food.”

However Farrington, who has an underlying health condition and whose 82-year-old mother deals with her, stated she understands why indoor dining might need to be limited once again.

“This is a major scenario,” she said. “It’s absolutely out there eliminating individuals, and why would you put yourself out there at risk?”


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