Canandaigua bars and restaurants adapt to new restrictions put in place to halt the spread of coronavirus

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CANANDAIGUA — The SUV pulled up outside Wally’s Pub on Phoenix Street. The driver, Daria Miller — mom of four and owner of Rosie, her dog — then texted the owner.

Soon enough, Chrissy Colabatistto ran outside with Miller’s lunch.

Curbside service and filling takeout orders are the new world order in Canandaigua and elsewhere in New York, thanks to restrictions for restaurants and bars put in place Monday night to limit the number of people gathering in one spot.

The restrictions, which also were put in place in New Jersey and Connecticut, are an attempt to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus by closing the establishments, but allowing limited services — such as curbside pickup.

The owner is amazing, for one, Miller said, so of course she was going to help out.

“They need to stay in business because if they shut down, how are they going to survive?” Miller said. “Let’s just help our smaller businesses out and get past this.”

At least 14 city establishments were planning to do curbside service, according to Denise Chaapel, manager of the downtown Canandaigua Business Improvement District.

Corned beef and cabbage dishes were a biggie for St. Patrick’s Day, particularly those who had planned for big holiday crowds.

“People are getting creative,” Chaapel said.

Many in the restaurant and bar business are understanding of why the restrictions are in place, but fear for their business over the long term. Some businesses in the area have already had to tell staff members to stay home.

And no one has a guess as to how long this will last, as the restrictions are in place indefinitely.

“We’re going to keep plugging away and try to do the best we can,” Colabatistto said. “Hopefully it’s shorter than longer. If we had a plan, then we could say, ‘OK, after two weeks, we’ll be golden and everybody is going to want to come out.’ In the unknown, it’s scary.”

John Guattery, who is an owner of Thai by Night restaurant on Main Street, said he appreciates what the city of Canandaigua has done to help.

The city has restricted parking in front of the downtown locations of restaurants and bars and placed orange traffic cones to mark off areas for curbside service.

Guattery said he knows some people are upset, but New York is doing the right thing.

“It’s better now than me being closed until August. Think what that would do to this town if we had to close in summer?” Guattery said. “It would be a disaster.”

On the brighter side, even the limited options restaurants and bars can offer does perform a service for people like Miller and other families who are impacted by the coronavirus in other ways.

Many of the stores in the area are running out of supplies and are having trouble restocking items.

“They’re buying out the stores and my children still have to eat,” Miller said.