coronavirus

‘It's a Nightmare': Restaurants Struggling After Mass. Enacts New Curfew

As restaurants fight to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, owners say new restrictions in Massachusetts are making things more difficult

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The owners of Brazilian steakhouse Framingham Station never imagined they'd be going into business during a pandemic.

"We set up for a high-volume restaurant with 270 seats," said owner Bruno Oliveira.

But when it was time to open the doors, the pandemic was in full bloom.

"We start to think, 'What are we going to do now?' because we didn't set up our business for delivery and takeout," said Oliveira.

And since then, it's been hurdle after hurdle for restaurants.

"It's been like learning to surf, but your first wave is in Hawaii," he said.

And one week ago, the latest obstacle came as Massachusetts limited operating hours in the evening. Guests must leave by 10 p.m.

The restaurant initially had plans to stay open until midnight.

It's hurt revenues by 20% over the last week.

"It's a nightmare," he said.

In Boston's South End, Michael Serpa says the new restrictions are hurting business by up to 15%.

"We let everybody know when they book, when they come in, we're hard close at 9:30," said Serpa. "Everyone's gotta get out of here."

Serpa is an industry veteran and knows this latest blow may hurt many struggling restaurants.

"Everyone's already on the edge," he said. "Just a little bit of another nudge might take some places out of contention and out of business."

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