Local Restaurant And Bar Owners Shed Light On The Effects Of COVID-19

By: Sarah Giglio

Local restaurant and bar owners shed light on the effects of COVID-19 Stoyana Petkova, owner of the Wild Owl Cafe, says that COVID-19 posed some challenges, but community support kept them going. (Photo by Sarah Giglio)

NORWICH — The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on several changes to everyday life. Social distancing, face coverings, and extra cleaning and sanitizing are all a part of our new normal. This has been the reality for over a year, and for local bars and restaurants these changes have posed a challenge. But, it has also shown the positive and supportive nature of Norwich residents.

Owner of The Blarney Stone Pub, Sarah Woods, says the pandemic was scary at first, and brought along a lot of uncertainty.

"It was scary just not knowing what was going to happen or if we'd even be able to reopen," said Woods.

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However, Woods also said that for The Pub, the timing was somewhat perfect. She had already begun expanding and remodeling the kitchen. At first she was unsure if renovations should continue, but she decided to take the risk. Luckily, it paid off.

The nationwide shut down allowed Woods to focus on the remodeling efforts. She expanded the kitchen, instituted a full menu, changed the tables, and redid the lights. When bars were allowed to reopen with the stipulation of serving food, she already had everything in place to adhere to this new guideline.

Owners of the Wild Owl Cafe, Mike LaCroce and Stoyana Petkova, had similar experiences. They closed their doors for the month of March to deep clean the restaurant. The timing coincided with the initial shutdown.


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