ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s back to where we were a month ago for breweries and restaurants. Restaurants and breweries are devasted by the latest news and some say they don’t think they will make it to the other side of yet another shutdown.
People are enjoying a Thursday night dinner inside Range Cafe on Wyoming. “We definitely need people coming in our doors, and it feels great to see the public again,” said the owner of Range Cafe Matt DiGregory. Come next week, the governor says it will no longer be allowed. “It is a giant gut punch and it tears at your heartstrings,” DiGregory said.
The governor’s new order prohibits indoor dining again starting Monday. DiGregory says he’s already had to close two of his nine locations due to the shutdowns. Now, he is not sure if the rest will make it.
“I don’t know how as an industry we are going to survive another shutdown like this. We can’t survive on-to-go and patio. No one is going to sit outside in 102 degrees,” DiGregory said.
The New Mexico’s Restaurant Association estimates 200 of the state’s 3,500 restaurants have already closed. NMRA predicts another 200 restaurants, if not more, will close due to shutting back down. “She made no points that restaurants were a problem. Her point was that she was going to punish New Mexicans by shutting down restaurants, and I think that’s criminal,” said Carol Wright of the NMRA.
Breweries are on the chopping block too. They and restaurants will be limited to outdoor seating only at half capacity but Tractor Brewing Company says they were expecting it. “We see the cases rising, and also dealing with the mask mandates, most people have complied but there have been some outliers who refused to wear masks, so we are just relieved we are not completely shut down,” said Events and Marketing Director at Tractor Brewing Company Jeremy Kinter.
DiGregory says he is hanging on but with little hope. “We feel like we have done everything right and there is no light at the end of this tunnel, unfortunately,” he said.
Range Cafe says they started off with 550 employees, laid them all off, brought halfback, and will now have to lay off another half. Businesses say New Mexicans can do their part by supporting them with carry-out, delivery and outdoor dining and following social distancing guidelines.
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