While local restaurants are celebrating the Phase II reopening after the months-long pandemic shutdown, the Village of Mamaroneck struggles with just how far it can go.
While Larchmont Village leaders have taken extra steps to support eateries by relaxing rules and allowing increased seating capacity by expanding onto the streets, Mamaroneck is taking a wait and see tactic.
Westchester County’s Reopening Task Force Co-chair Catherine Parker was picking up a take out meal at Smokehouse Tailgate Grill in Mamaroneck, and said the overall return to table dining is going “really well.” The only problems she reported was a restaurant in Peekskill that had its tables too close together, and owners complaining of a shortage of umbrellas and traffic barriers to block off temporary dining zones.
The Smokehouse Grill reports it will be ready for sidewalk dining on Tuesday although co-managing partner Justin Zeytyoonian wishes they were allowed to setup tables on the street.
“Our sidewalk space is pretty limited so if we were allowed to go out onto the street we would probably triple business.”
Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy tells us that strategy is not practical. “It’s problematic,” he said. “We have bus routes… to close our street requires at least six police officers on overtime. It would take up all of our parking and the problem with Mamaroneck Avenue is that most people drive. It’s a ‘Catch 22’ but we’re going to see what’s possible in the future. We want to walk before we run”.
Reopening is certainly a challenge for businesses. Shop and restaurant owners have scrambled to create new safety protocols and are busy retraining staff who are returning after three months away. The Smokehouse owner says, “Kinda feels like we’re reopening a new restaurant while operating a restaurant.”
“It simply feels so good to be among people in a community setting again,” Parker noted. “We’re taking this one step at a time.”