Waterbury restaurants are working toward reopening after Governor Scott announced plans for indoor dining at 25% capacity.
Hender’s Bake Shop & Cafe on North Main Street in Waterbury Village has decided to switch to online ordering, feeling that it would be best for the health and safety of their customers and staff.
“We have continued to stay open this entire time and serve our community. As of June 1, we are now open Thursday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., accepting only online orders and payment for outdoor porch pickup,” said Jessica Wright, owner.
Customers can order up to five days in advance or can pick up their food the day it was ordered.
Down the road at Prohibition Pig, usually a dining-in restaurant, takeout has been offered for several months.
“We have been doing takeout about one day a week for about seven weeks and are now up to four days a week. The customers have all been outstanding and respectful.” said Eric Warnstedt, chef, founder and co-owner.
Warnstedt says that they have been complying with the state guidelines, using masks and hand sanitizer, contact tracing and distancing tables.
ACROSS THE STREET
Across the street from Prohibition Pig is the Blackback Pub. At Friday's press conference, Governor Scott said indoor dining can resume at 25% capacity. For the Blackback Pub that means they can seat about 20 people.
Wednesday was the first day they were open for indoor seating, and they will be open through Sunday.
Dave Juenker, the owner, says that they will be following the state's guidelines for restaurants. “We are required to take their [customers] names, their phone number and contact info, where they’re from and register them in our registry book.” Juenker stated that this would be crucial for any contact tracing that could occur.
At the Reservoir, the owners have not been doing any online ordering or takeout. They hope to open this month.
“We’re waiting for a certain capacity of indoor dining to reopen,” said Mark Frier, owner.
When they do open, Frier said that they will be avid followers of the state guidelines.
Located on Stowe Street, The Blue Stone has been open for takeout for four weeks now at their Waterbury location. They are doing takeout Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. in Waterbury and Waitsfield.
“We’re obviously watching and waiting and being hopeful for things to loosen up, for the impact of COVID to decrease to the point of full service is allowable again,” said co-owner Chris Fish.
“The reality of the situation is, even hypothetically, if Scott was to come out and say, ‘You can reopen for indoor seating, but you can only do 30, 40 or 50% capacity, or you have to space your tables 10-feet apart,’ we 100% would not reopen under those guidelines for indoor seating.” Fish says that fiscally it would not make sense under those regulations to reopen. He says that they will wait until there are no capacity restrictions for indoor seating before opening.
Karen Nevin, director of Revitalizing Waterbury, said businesses are working to reopen while complying with state guidelines.
Nevin said that Waterbury is seeing more activity; however, the ongoing Main Street reconstruction has made it hard for people to walk in a very popular part of town. She says that was hard for businesses even before the pandemic.
“I think that the community is really understanding about the importance of spending their money in town, and so they are finding ways to do that,’ she added.