By: Jeff McMenemy, Seacoastonline.com
DOVER — Seacoast restaurant owners offered Gov. Chris Sununu reports on how their businesses did during the COVID-19 summer.
And they also expressed concerns about what the coming winter would mean for their restaurants.
Steve Newick is the owner of Newick’s Lobster House, where Sununu held a discussion with restaurant owners Friday.
“The only good thing that came out of the drought is we were able to stay open outside the entire summer without really missing any days,” Newick said. “Our concern is really going into the winter.”
He acknowledged “just keeping (his staff) employed is going to be a challenge, depending on how it goes.”
“We just don’t know,” he added.
The discussion Friday followed Sununu’s announcement a day earlier that restaurants can put their indoor tables closer than 6 feet apart as long as protective barriers are placed between them.
Friday’s event was held next to Great Bay on a sun-drenched morning with the restaurant owners seated at picnic tables wearing masks.
Newick told Sununu they have 300 seats inside, along with outdoor seating.
“Most people don’t have that luxury, we can have the seats but are people going to come out,” he said. “That’s the real big thing, do people want to eat indoors? Every little bit helps, barriers help, spacing helps. It’s getting people to feel comfortable coming out.”
Sununu said he understands “restaurants have had it hard, really hard, especially early on” because of COVID.
“It helps some but not others allowing to do these barriers between the booths,” Sununu said. “Hopefully, that’s providing a little more flexibility as we move forward.”
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