Connecticut eateries feel the strain of enduring pandemic as cases rise, many working from home


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In Hartford, Max Downtown is open, but their revenues are way down by more than 50 percent.

Just a couple of doors down, they have another restaurant called Trumbull Kitchen. They temporarily closed it to spring until they get more outdoor dining, Caught in the middle is the curfew. Massachusetts got rid of the curfew saying people can come out and eat all night long.

Here in Connecticut, the governor staying the course.

“Colleges are just coming back. We have had another couple of the extremely infectious strain of the virus, so I think it is prudent to wait. Let’s take a look in a couple of weeks,” Gov. Lamont says.

But will it be in time? Many restaurants have closed for good.

“We have been looking at Valentine’s Day, which is only a few weeks away, which is kind of the start of hopefully the push to spring for our industry. And hopefully we can get those restaurants open back up,” Scott Dolch, CT Restaurant Association.

And will a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months, make a difference?

“I don’t think business comes back too close to normal until the last quarter of this year, when people are inoculated and safe to go back into their offices,” Richard Rosenthal, Max Downtown.

A lot of people are working from home, which means they are not in downtown to catch a meal at local eateries.

“A lot of restaurants told me that even in that reopening phase back in May, it was almost as costly as opening a restaurant for the first time,” Dolch adds.

While it’s not the normal full to capacity crowd of years past at Max Downtown, they do have diners eating-in on a Friday night.

“My sales are way down, but I feel good about the prospects. Every day, someone in this restaurant that tells me they just got the vaccine,” Rosenthal says.

They are doing everything they can, trying to stay open until the vaccine takes hold.

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