Local Restaurants Surviving COVID ‘Yellow Zone’ Local Restaurants Surviving COVID 'Yellow Zone'

SYRACUSE, New York (NCC NEWS) — After months in the relative clear, Syracuse has ended up back in the COVID yellow zone, wreaking havoc on local restaurants as they get less than a week to adapt to new regulations.

At Strong Hearts Cafe on Fayette Street, the first concern when the news came down was if the reduced business could actually threaten jobs.

“We weren’t sure what the fate of my job would be,” Shift Leader Shaelyn Weatherup said.

She had just gotten the job in July, a rare feat in the pandemic. Instead of losing this new position, she was tasked with making sure the Cafe stayed Yellow Zone compliant in the transition over.

“We wipe the tables immediately as someone leaves,” Weatherup said. “We wear gloves constantly, everyone has a facemask on all the time, customers can’t get up from their tables without a mask on. Everyone has been really understanding of all that.”

 An advantage restaurants like Strong Hearts have is that they have been through this zone before, albeit nearly six months ago. It was actually a more stringent COVID zone when the state of New York had locked down completely.

“It was a little bit different because it was only a curbside service,” Weatherup said.

While restaurants that base their income off food alone have been able to adapt easier with these different experiences, for places like Benjamin’s that base their income off late-night crowds, that change is going to be more difficult.

“We were gearing up to go to midnight this weekend,” Benjamin’s Owner Joe Rainone said. “Now that it’s at 10 O’clock, [Governor Cuomo] moved it to 10 O’clock today, we probably aren’t even going to open this weekend.”

No matter the type of fair or atmosphere, all of these establishments are counting on one thing to stay afloat during yellow zone restrictions.

“Knowing that our support is going to be there,” Weatherup said.

The yellow zone is expected to last at least two weeks.

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