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Area bars grapple with closing

Area bars grapple with closing

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — After the COVID-19 pandemic passes and restaurants and bars are able to re-open, Grand Central Sports Bar will be ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Owner Ed Ruszczyk said he left the decorations up in his bar at 76 Quinnipiac St. after he had to shut down the night before his busiest day of the year due to Gov. Ned Lamont’s mandate. 

The governor mandated all restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters closed by 8 p.m. Monday.

Restaurants are allowed to stay open for delivery, take-out and curbside pickup. Bars that don’t serve food are left without options.

Ruszczyk said he stayed open right up until 8 p.m. Monday. 

“I had to throw people out,” Ruszczyk said. “No one wanted to leave.”

He hopes he can re-open soon and thinks the situation is being “blown out of portion.”

He plans to pay his own staff, which he considers family, for the next two weeks. 

Ruszczyk said he’s looked into his insurance policy and was told the situation does not qualify for the “interruption in service” benefits. 

Knuckleheads, which serves lunch and dinner and has a bar, decided to close. Owner Anthony Morgillo said it just didn’t make financial sense for them to offer takeout at the Center Street establishment. 

“..It’s gonna cripple any small restaurant in the state,” Morgillo said. “We’re worried … we still got bills coming in. Everyone’s getting overwhelmed with all this because no one knows what to do.”

 He’s been looking into unemployment benefits for his staff and how insurance might help. 

He agreed the timing of the mandate wasn’t great for business. For many bars, St. Patrick’s Day is the busiest day of the year. 

Breweries also canceled St. Patrick’s Day events. 

Center Street Brewing co-owner Peter Ford said the brewery will be open for beer takeout and curbside pickup, in 4-packs and single cans. You can also buy growlers of beer, he said, adding the staff will sanitize personal growlers. Pickup hours and the beer menu are on the brewery’s social media pages. 

He also decided to cancel all live music and other events for the next eight weeks as a precaution. The national Centers for Disease Control recommended Sunday that gatherings be limited to less than 50 people for at least next eight weeks. 

“We’re just following in suit with everyone trying to be supportive and responsible business owners,” Ford said. 

Witchdoctor Brewing and Kinsmen Brewing, both in Southington, are also offering curbside beer pickup. Sauced, the pizza kitchen inside Kinsmen Brewing, will be offering pizza to-go. 

Dawg House Bar & Grill in Meriden planned to be open for takeout on Tuesday from 4 to 9 p.m, however was not sure if the service would continue. 

“We thank you endlessly for your support. This is a very tough time for all of us in the service industry. Please consider purchasing gift cards as well. We will continue to keep you updated on Facebook and Instagram!” the Dawg House staff said in a Facebook post.

bwright@record-journal.com203-317-2316Twitter: @baileyfaywright