Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's order that all restaurants stop table service for three weeks is likely to have a devastating impact on restaurants across the state.
The owner of Eat, a restaurant in Springfield with just eight tables, says he’s not sure yet how bad it’s going to be.
“Honestly, I don't know,” said Robert Lindsey, who runs the restaurant with his wife. “We're kind of in unchartered territories.”
The restaurant already offered takeout service, and is now limited to just that. But Lindsey told WGBH News that he’s worried customers will stay away from even that.
“Even the pizza shop across the street from us that pretty much has takeout or delivery, he’s had two deliveries today,” he said. “Which is very, very abnormal to see the delivery driver to sit in there all day.
Lindsey and his wife are the restaurant’s only employees. Even with such a small staff, he said there’s only so long he can stay open with just limited service.
“It's almost like being in quicksand, if you ask me,” Lindsey said. “There's a lot of overhead, even if even when a restaurant's closed, it's still using electricity to run all the equipment and then being shut down for that long. You're going to have to throw out your food product and then restock up your food product.”
Lindsey said he contacted his insurance company to see what might be covered.
“And the Coronavirus is not considered a natural disaster,” he was told. “So along with a thousand other people that are called my insurance company, none of us are covered. So it's not like we can get anything from insurance.”
“It's going to be tough,” he added.
“I've been around during the housing crisis… And, you know, they bailed out Wall Street, they bailed out banks,” he said. “So, you know, I'm hoping they can bail out restaurants.”