Closures, delays, stocking up: Businesses react to pandemic

Apr 8, 2020

Tastebuds and Cilantro have closed to avoid the projected coronavirus peak. Lloyd’s Market is packed, and Jim Carberry at The Robin’s Nest warns that some small businesses will never reopen. 

Two weeks after Governor Charlie Baker closed issued a sweeping closure on businesses, essential companies are still reacting and changing operations to clients and staff safe. 

Some restaurants have taken a hit, some have cut back to the essentials to stay open, and others have decided to close to avoid the peak of the infection. 

While Tastebuds initially cut its staff to just owners and a chef, and switched to takeout, it decided on April 1 to close its doors to avoid the virus’ peak. 

“It wasn’t worth jeopardizing the community or us for us to be open,” Owner Carol Landeau said, adding that “We will temporarily be closed until after the two seek expected spike.” 

Cilantro Thai cuisine also indicated on its website that it will be closed to avoid the peak, and will notify its customers when it will reopen. 

With customers flocking to Lloyd’s market, owner Dan Costa says employees are “constantly sanitizing.” to avoid transmission. He now runs a curbside pickup program every day except Wednesdays. 

He has also limited customers who can enter the store to one person per family.

He said that he is short-staffed and was not prepared for the amount of work to keep things stocked the last month or so. But he has been able to do so with all of his products, except Lysol. 

Shipyard Galley in Mattapoisett has stayed open for takeout, but had half the business that it normally has this time of year. 

Joe Sousa, who co-owns the deli/bakery and catering company with Rose and Jennifer Sousa, said that Mattapoisett is usually sleepy in the winter and starts to get a bit busier in the spring. 

To keep the infection risk down, Shipyard Galley is using double the amount of gloves sanitizer and paper towels that it normally would. 

“I consider us lucky because we can still open our doors,” Joe said, adding that he is “happy and overwhelmed with the support of the community.” 

Since garden centers are deemed an essential business, Eden Florist and Garden Shop of Marion was able to open again and is starting to see customers. 

Owner Esmeralda Braga said that she has noticed that people are “super happy to be able to get flowers to plant and work in the garden because it brings them joy.”

With people stuck at home, florist manager Barbara Pantos said that people can prepare their gardens, and with spring weather approaching, people want to be outside.

While the few customers that do come to their shop don’t go inside the gift shop, Braga said that Eden has met clients at their comfort level by implementing curbside pickup and home delivery of flowers. 

Seasonal restaurants have taken different approaches to the virus. Oxford Creamery in Mattapoisett elected not to open until May 4. The Robin’s Nest in Rochester has opened, but for takeout only, and without offering its soft serve. 

“It’s tough to tell kids they can’t sit at the tables,” Carberry said. 

The owner said that it has been busy on the weekends and dead during the week, and that he’s “not really getting stocked yet.” 

The small business owner predicts that it will be a long time before recovery for a lot of small businesses because for them, closing and reopening can be like starting a new business all over again. 

He fears that even after social distancing lets up, parents won’t let their children work again. “We depend on these 15, 16 year old kids,” he said. 

“This is what’s going to put you under, if you’re already on shaky ground,” Carberry said, of the crisis.