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Businesses struggle during pandemic



Rochester, N.Y. – In this tough times for businesses, The Monroe County Reporter made an interview with bar and restaurant owners. One of the bar owners, Timothy Mullaney, told us in the interview that his bar never stopped working during the pandemic.

“We’re making it day by day,” he said.

But many of his co-workers at Temple Bar and Grill haven’t been so lucky.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t keep everyone working, but we tried our best,” said Mullaney.

Such is life in the restaurant business during the pandemic.

“My staff… you’re laid off, you’re hired, you’re laid off, you’re hired,” said owner Michael O’Leary.

O’Leary worries what the future may hold.

“They’re hesitant to come back because, am I going to lay them off again in two weeks? Am I going to lay them off again in a week?” O’Leary said.

A year ago, O’Leary had 25 employees. Now, he’s down to just six.

He fills out paperwork for PPP loans, not because he wants to, but because he has to.

“Without that money, I’d have been closed, and boarded up eight months ago,” O’Leary said.

Everyone has bills to pay.

“It’s terrible because you know, I have people that work here that have kids and you know, even being on unemployment they’re… they can’t make it. The bills are piling up and the same goes with us, the bills are piling up,” said Mullaney.

Andi Cappoli knows the impact.

“I would have six to seven tables I would take just during the daytime,” she said.

That was before the pandemic-related dining shutdown and the tips which disappeared along with the paycheck.

“You know on a good weekend $300 to $17 I think we made last, couple weekends ago,” said Cappoli.

During the shutdown, the server at Bathtub Billy’s would volunteer just to help with takeout orders.

So not working… was hard.

“Very, especially during Christmas time, especially when you have, you know, kids to feed and people to buy presents for and you know yourself and your mortgage and gas for your car. It’s just, it’s frustrating,” Cappoli said.

“Twenty years in this business is not easy and we’d been doing good up until last year,” said restaurant owner Chuck Formosa.

Formosa has had to cut back on days and hours of operation at his Italian restaurant.

“What are we gonna do not gonna just stay in here for no apparent reason just in case somebody calls?” Formosa said.

He’s been able to keep the six people who work in his kitchen but has a wait staff of just one now.

And everyone’s working fewer hours, making less money.

“They got bills, just like my landlord. Do I go to my landlord and say I can pay the rent this month? He’s got a mortgage too,” said Formosa.

“The governor isn’t on my Christmas card list anymore,” said O’Leary.

O’Leary says his sales were down 40% last year.

The unknown is the hardest part. Still, there’s reason for optimism.

“We’re hanging in there. And we’re determined, so I think we’re gonna make it,” said Mullaney.