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Tale of two cities: One New Haven business opens as another closes amid COVID-19 pandemic

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — One New Haven business opens and just a few blocks away, one closes – a sign of the turbulent economic times amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Somos opened up just about a week ago on Orange Street. They’re serving up savory, scrumptious arepas. It’s a Venezuelan cuisine staple. A corn flour pocket filled with meats, cheeses, and everything good that goes with those things.

This restaurant has been the brainchild of the Cordido brothers for five years. The pair grew up in Hamden and wanted to make sure everyone in the Elm City got a chance to taste the flavors they grew up with.  They say the pandemic isn’t slowing them down.

“I know it’s a crazy time to start a restaurant, crazy time to open up a business, but we’ve had a great response from the neighborhood. I think people are looking to find an escape during all of this. I think food has always been the escape for people,” said co-owner Alejandro Cordido. “Food is definitely that bridge that connects everyone together…I think you know you can see it from the people coming out and sharing their appreciation for what we’re doing at this moment. So, very happy with it.”

If you would like to try Somos Handcrafted Arepas check out their website.

Just a few blocks away from Somos on Court Street is a very different story. On Monday, the Beer Collective let customers know they are closing on Instagram. They thanked everyone for their support and stated the pandemic hit the service industry hard in ways they could not predict or prepare for.

View this post on Instagram

Service Update: Limited Capacity In order to stay open to the public and provide a safe place for our amazing team, great group of regulars and the guests that come to The Beer Collective we are going to change how service will flow. Our ability to provide a safe, clean place for everyone is the most important thing during this developing situation. We love the support we get from the community here in New Haven and would never want to put anyone in harm's way. Know that we will be diligent in cleaning and sanitizing between guests and following the local governments and CDC's preventative guidelines. When you do feel like coming to the bar in the next few weeks understand that we are going to limit the capacity of the restaurant to 60 people. Mayor Elicker has made the decision to limit our seating to keep everyone safe and we will of course be following his guidelines. We will have chairs on the floor at all the tables, unlike the normal benches we have, and if the chairs are full we will be at capacity. We’ll try to be as accommodating as possible and take down names and phone numbers for anyone that would like to wait for a table or seat at the bar. Come and enjoy the Beer Collective you know and love.  In order to add to your fun experience we are going to be offering Hoppy flights every day! You’ll be able to come in and get (4) 5 ounce pours from our amazing selection of Hoppy brews from local breweries like Fox Farm, Kent Falls, Alvarium, NEBCO, Fat Orange Cat, and many more. We’ll also have gift cards available if you can’t wait for a seat and want to come visit us another time. We’ll be giving a 20% discount on them until we can get back to normal service. Lastly, because of the limited seating we encourage people to call and make a reservation if you’re planning to come in. Thank you for your understanding in this unique and challenging time, Be Safe

A post shared by The Beer Collective (@thebeercollectivenhv) on

News 8 reached out to the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garrett Sheehan who says they’re sending out a new survey to businesses this week.

They’re trying to figure out just how badly the pandemic has hit New Haven and he says they are seeing a handful of places closing up shop.

Sheehan says so far, it’s been a very slow recovery.

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