Restaurants react to extended business regulations

Governor Raimondo has extended social distincing rules until May 8th.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Small businesses, especially ones in downtown Providence that rely on office workers, students, and tourists, have hit hard by social distancing restrictions — especially now that those rules are extended into May.

“We didn’t think it was going to last this long,” said John Philippides, co-owner of Yoleni’s on Westminster Street in downtown Providence. “But we saw the scale of it worldwide and the restrictions that were taken.”

Philippides says he’s lost a large piece of business.

But he says, more than that, he’s been concerned about the health and safety of the public and his workers.

“A lot of my thoughts have to do with my employees and what this meant for them,” he said.

It’s meant reduced staff and hours with no dining in or events to cater.

Philippides says a major concern is making sure insurance companies step in to help.

“We don’t have anywhere else to find the support from to find a solution,” he said.

He’s also worried that the extended business restrictions could start to cut in to the crucial warm-weather foot traffic.

But for now Yoleni’s is adapting, focusing on takeout and online orders.

Philippides says there is some good news: in this time of uncertainty, community members are going local.

“People are going back to local, smaller businesses because they know who they’re speaking with, they know who they’re supporting,” he said.

And Philippides says that support is one way to fight back.

“It’s definitely something I believe we’re going to get through, and we’re going to come out stronger,” he said.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island