Restaurants In East Haven Are Adapting For COVID-19

Restaurants and fast food in East Haven have been given new procedures, operation times, and offer new services due to the COVID-19 that’s spreading worldwide. The pandemic has caused many non essential businesses to be closed in order to avoid spread; however, restaurants and fast food are categorized to be essential. This means that they are open in EH with restrictions. Mandatory rules have been given to ensure facilities are sanitary, all the employees are now required to wear masks, wash hands repeatedly, and wear gloves constantly.

Facilities are changing their operating times in order to only be open during necessary hours. Most of people’s favorite restaurants have been closing much earlier, Wendy’s is now closing at 10pm on weekdays instead of 1 or 2am. However, early closings are leading to employee’s hours being cut; some places such as Chili’s only has it’s full time staff and managers while others are fired, furloughed, or only work occasionally. Although restaurants are up and operating, it seems that business can be slower for some operations due to citizens either quarantined inside, or they don't want to risk going to a drive through.

Concerns about restaurant safety have been high since the start of the virus, which spreads through mouth, nose, and eyes. Since COVID-19 is so contagious, some think that everything should either be shut down or only orders should be taken. Delivery drivers are workers who are at risk, due to them having to drive to many locations and interact with many people. Dylan Rinaldi claimed that he quit his delivery job at the Chinese food restaurant, Foliage, in EH due to the start of COVID-19. He, and many others, chose to stop working inorder to avoid the virus and stay healthy. An employee at the Hemingway Dunkin Donuts, Fred Neps, stated “I feel fine [about working during the pandemic]. I feel like I'm not really at risk due to what they have done, but if we were still under normal operation I feel like i’d be concerned and probably wouldn’t be working… currently more people younger aged are working because older people have been calling out because they’re scared of the corona.” Fred also stated his Dunkin Donuts stopped refilling reusable cups, practiced 6ft distancing, and only has 3 employee’s working at a time. There is no estimated time for opening or closing for Dunkin Donuts, or any other restaurant in East Haven; no clear future instructions are confirmed.

Cautions and procedures have been enforced in local EH restaurants to ensure safety. Only drive throughs have been open, or takeout options are available. In drive throughs employees wear gloves and masks; Maria Solis, the manager of Wendy’s in EH, stated that in all her stores employees are required to hand cups out on trays and bags of food go out the window on trays to avoid close contact. She also said that “masks and gloves are mandatory” in her stores, when working. Everyday before and after opening these places are sanitized and thoroughly cleaned with a variety of cleaning solutions such as sanitizer, bleach, degreaser, and all surface cleaner. However, depending on the restaurant, some places can only offer delivery, which can be said to be “safer and more regularly used” by citizens during this time.

Chili adapted to the virus by delivering to cars outside of the restaurant. Since the inside is closed they have posted messages for customers on the windows saying “Please stay in your car and we will be right with you! Thank you.” This allows Chili’s to still operate while ensuring COVID-19 is not being spread. Pizza places in EH such as Minervini’s, John and Maria’s, and Capotoro’s Apizza Center have also stuck with only using delivery services, masks, and gloves to adapt.

One of the most convenient options during the pandemic can be online apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, or GoPuff, which all do pickup and delivery to your front door. The only thing needed is a credit card of some type and a mobile device. The workers ensure safety by placing deliveries at the front door and walking away some distance before calling in their arrival; some apps, like GoPuff, can offer delivery instructions for the delivery driver. Special places are even offering fun things to create and eat while stuck at home. Kerri’s Sweet Creations, a bakery in Wallingford, has started to sell cannoli kits that parents can bring home and decorate with their children, while other bakeries, such as Sugar in East Haven, have had to close. Fortunately, there are many great options for food services during this pandemic, that ensure quality and safety during this hectic, anxiety filled time.