COVID concerns prompt Groton restaurant’s shift to takeout only

New London

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A couple of restaurants in Groton had to modify their businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

One of them is Paul’s Pasta, a very popular restaurant in town. They no longer offer indoor dining as of Sunday. It’s take-out only. They still have takeout, catering and gift cards, but right now, no one is allowed to come in and sit down and eat at the restaurant.

A big part of that is because of the higher number of COVID-19 cases the area has seen.

Right now, there are around 20 COVID-positive patients at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.

“We’re seeing some of the highest volumes of admitted patients and sick patients obviously than we had since the spring of this past year,” said Dr. Craig Mittleman at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. “I think everybody’s heard this over and over again and if they don’t think it’s real these folks are… a majority are not vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated.”

Additionally, a couple of the restaurant’s employees have tested positive for COVID-19. So, they want to make sure that people are as safe as possible and lessen the exposure between customers and staff.

“It’s been hard because the staff’s been a little bit uneasy about coming in, and we’re certainly not going to make them come on in and wait on people if they’re nervous,” said Dorothy Fidrych of Paul’s Pasta.

The Fidrychs said when they made the decision to go to takeout only Saturday night, the whole dining room was filled with customers enjoying their meals, which made the decision even harder. But they wanted to make sure they kept both the customers and staff safe.

The move has led to a loss of income for wait staff, some of whom though were worried about coming in anyway.

“We want them to come back as soon as we can and we hope they do,” said Paul Fidrych.

Groton Pizza Palace is also being affected by the pandemic.

After two workers tested positive, owner Jim Lampos tested the whole staff and four more positives were identified, so he shut down until Dec. 20, which is after the quarantine period ends. He said throughout the pandemic, kitchen staff were always fully masked and COVID protocols were followed.

In the meantime – both restaurants are trying to put health and safety first even if it means a loss in business during what is usually a very busy time of the year.

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