SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Restaurants throughout Central New York are just some of the many businesses severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to figure out how they’re going to survive.
As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ‘NY on Pause’ order, restaurants can only be open for takeout or curbside pickup.
Laci’s Tapas Bar on Hawley Avenue in Syracuse quickly went from fully open, to removing some tables and chairs to comply with reduced occupancy for social distancing, to being closed.
The restaurant did shift into a takeout style business for a short time.
Laci’s Owner, Laura Serway tells NewsChannel 9, “It was interesting because I remember that Monday well, I had a staff meeting anyway, planned and then when I had to tell them all that they were laid off at that meeting with the exception of about six of them, it was a bad day. Wow, that day was so hard, I don’t want to even feel that emotion again.”
Serway was examining the takeout business that first week and noticed payroll for running it was either meeting or even exceeding revenue.
“We needed to say, we’re done and that was tough, that was tough,” she says.
With Laci’s completely closed, Serway turned her attention to loans to keep the business afloat.
“As you start to gather the papers you quickly realize wow, they’re asking for a lot of information here, and it’s information you would not necessarily have readily available,” but she says it’s information business owners can get and encourage other business owners to try to obtain Federal, State or local assistance.
For her, Serway says the payroll protection plan program is the most important she’s applied for at this point. She says it will help make sure she can pay people to help reopen things, whenever that is, because she won’t have any cash on hand at that point.
“As much work as I’m doing now while I’m closed you’ve got to do just as much to get ready. Just placing a produce order and getting that put away is going to be a $1,000,” she tells NewsChannel 9.
Adding that she’s making the most of her time, like making some fixes and repairs to the restaurant as well as creating new menus.
“When we open the doors, new menu, revised recipes, new wines, new cocktails, let’s just have fun with this, and make it be more of a party and a celebration of life because at the end of the day that’s what we’re trying to do is get back to that point where we an enjoy our lives again,” Serway says.
As for the usual July week shut down at Laci’s to get caught up on things, she says that won’t be happening this year, if the restaurant is back up and running by then.
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For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9.