Restaurants push back on Raimondo’s two-week pause

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Restaurants are pushing back after Governor Raimondo announced a two-week “pause.”

It’s not a full shutdown, but it’s expected to put pressure on establishments like Camille’s on Federal Hill.

This isn’t the first pandemic Camille’s has seen since it opened in 1914. But this year has been pushing the limit.

“We’ve been beaten up all year,” said General Manager George Kilborn. “So it’s just one more thing. It’s hard to swallow.”

Kilborn says restaurants are being unfairly targeted especially after adapting to the new safety precautions. He argues restaurants and bars can be safer than inside people’s homes, where much of the spread is happening now.

“They’ve been saying restaurants aren’t the problem, restaurants aren’t the problem, restaurants aren’t the problem,” Kilborn said. “But all of a sudden, we’re going to pay the price anyway.”

The price is especially high for bartenders, now that bar areas will have to be completely shut down during the pause.

Kilborn says a big part of Camille’s business comes from that, and bartenders are concerned as they face losing their jobs.

“They’re worried about making ends meet, and they’re looking for solutions,” he said.

Kilborn says one solution might be more funds to help employees stay afloat while they can’t work until the pandemic improves.

“Looking for some help taking care of our employees, because at this point, they’re first and foremost in our thoughts,” he said. “How are we going to keep the people that we employ from starving, from losing their apartment? That’s really what we want to take care of.”

Kilborn says he thinks many employees can make it through the two-week pause, but would have concerns if it extends beyond that.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island