‘It’s a shot in the arm;’ restaurants react to curfew being lifted in RI

Restaurants filled with diners past 10:30 P.M. on Friday for the first time in months.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -Rhode Island restaurants are now able to resume their normal hours after Governor Raimondo signed an executive order Friday to cancel the curfew they had been abiding by since November.

Restaurants filled with diners past 10:30 P.M. on Friday for the first time in months.

“It’s a shot in the arm,” said Owner at the Thirsty Beaver Ed Brady.

The Department of Health originally announced Thursday the state curfew would be lifted starting next week, but restaurants lobbied to make it more immediate.

“When they said they wanted to do it Sunday, our big question was well why? Why do we need to wait?” said Rick Simone of the Federal Hill Commerce Association. “We only need two or three hours to prepare for this. So that’s why we pushed really hard last night to get a change for today.”

Simone says it’s especially helpful to keep the state’s restaurants economically viable as they compete against Massachusetts this weekend, which lifted its curfew restrictions this week.

“We lost a lot of customers, they were upset, because they felt like they’re being thrown out after spending a little bit of money at your restaurant,” said Owner of Opa Joseph Karam. “We rely on late customers, people that own businesses.”

At Opa on Federal Hill Friday night, customers were happy to know they wouldn’t have to run out of their favorite restaurant by 10:30 P.M.

“We’re glad to see that the restriction’s been lifted. It’s been a long time. They’ve been suffering. So I think it’s great for the city right now,” said customer David Petrucci.

“Just coming here instead of going to a big commercial place, and being able to support a local business, means everything to me,” said customer Daniel Ortiz.

The next thing owners are hoping to get back is bar seating, and eventually increased capacity.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island