A diner owner from Staten Island, New York, was left to deal with dozens of spare turkeys after numerous people canceled their reservations when they found out that his business would have to shutter for Thanksgiving because of the new coronavirus restrictions.
New COVID-19 rules
Kostantino Plaitis told The New York Post that he felt like the rug had been ripped out from under them. Plaitis run Andrew's Diner on the south of Staten Island since it opened in 1999. He said that no one from the state or city gave him a notice that his business was placed under the "orange zone."
On November 22, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that parts of Staten Island would go into an orange zone. But Plaitis said that he only learned about the new restrictions from a reporter on Channel 2 on November 24, and he has now been forced to close his indoor dining setup.
Under the new restrictions, the diner is allowed to open for outdoor dining only, but he does not have an alfresco setup, according to CBS.
The family-run eatery was expecting to serve 500 diners for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it happens to be one of the busiest days for them.
Since opening up the shop with his father and brother, Plaitis said that they have a lot of customers that spend every Thanksgiving with them, and they were able to build a loyal following.
The 41-year-old diner owner said that he spent most of November 25 scrambling to convert his reservations into takeaway orders.
Around 60 percent of the restaurant's loyal customer base who were planning on eating in the diner agreed to have their feasts catered to their homes instead. There were other issues to figure out, including a shortage of take-out containers and 100 spare turkeys.
The turkey situation may have been avoided if he had been given some notice. Plaitis said that he felt like the local government is not being sensitive to the small businesses.
Rick Camac, a New York restaurant consultant, said that there is no mechanism in place for letting eateries know when they will be saddled with new COVID-19 restrictions.
Camac said that people need to follow the media. Short warnings and no formal strategy, specifics, roadmap, or notice may take place.
According to Plaitis, he did not understand the state's zip-code system because people are not confined to their zip codes.
The northern part of Staten Island moved into the yellow zone this week. It means that indoor dining is still permitted there. Plaitis said that he wished he had a second location on the north shore, according to ABC.
Plaitis will not cook up a solution, and he is looking into donating the turkeys to churches or those in need. He said that if they had a little more time, they would have figured out a lot more about what to do with the extra turkeys. He also asked for a little sensitivity from officials for small businesses left in the lurch.